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DIRECTRICE GENERALE DE L'UNESCO

Second session of the Intergovernmental Meeting on the Preparation of a Declaration of Principles relating to cultural objects displaced in connection with the Second World War

Second session of the Intergovernmental Meeting on the Preparation of a Declaration of Principles relating to cultural objects displaced in connection with the Second World War
  • © UNESCO/M. Ravassard

On Thursday 8 March, the Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, opened at UNESCO Headquarters, the Second session of the Intergovernmental Meeting on the Preparation of a Declaration of Principles relating to cultural objects displaced in connection with the Second World War.

Chaired by Ms Victoria Gavrilescu (Romania), this Second session is attended by experts representing the Governments of the Member States and Associate Members of UNESCO. The purpose of the second meeting is to re-examine the Preamble and proceed to a second reading of the draft Declaration of Principles, “so as to be in a position to submit to the 34th session of UNESCO’s General Conference a text that has received the widest possible consensus,” stated Mr Matsuura.

In his opening remarks, Mr Matsuura recalled the first session of the Intergovernmental Meeting which took place last July (see Flash Info n°120-2006) in follow-up to the Resolution of the 33rd session of UNESCO’s General Conference (33 C/Resolution 45). That meeting resulted in the adoption, in the first reading, of the draft Declaration of Principles. However, owing to time constraints at the conclusion of the first session, the majority of participants expressed the wish that a second session be organized in order to pursue and finalize their work. Mr Matsuura then reported the results of the July 2006 Intergovernmental Meeting to the 175th session of the Executive Board in September-October last year. By virtue of 175 EX/Decision 16, he was requested to consult with Member States of the Executive Board on the most appropriate course of action to undertake in order to implement 33 C/Resolution 45. The consultation took place on 5 December 2006 here in Paris, and a majority of Member States recommended convening a second session of the Intergovernmental Meeting – that which opens today.

The Director-General also underlined that “the draft Declaration of Principles, although dealing with a situation related to the Second World War, addresses the future and not the past. Accordingly, I would like to reassure all Member States that these Principles must be drafted in a manner that in no way disrupts existing bilateral or multilateral treaties regarding these issues. Rather, the Principles are intended to facilitate future bilateral or multilateral inter-State negotiations on this subject. Given the Principles' non-binding character, Member States retain full liberty to use all of them, some of them or none of them when conducting bilateral or multilateral negotiations.”

Mr Matsuura recognized that “finalizing, in just two days, a text that is both effective and mutually acceptable will require working together efficiently and in a spirit of co-operation and understanding”. “Allow me once again to emphasize the importance of reaching a consensus in your deliberations and drafting. I sincerely hope to be able to state in my report to the next session of the General Conference that the consensual spirit that prevailed during the first session of the meeting has been fully manifested in the final draft text. A well-crafted text will demonstrate the international community's ability and determination to defend the vital role of cultural heritage in today's increasingly globalized world,” he concluded.

  • Auteur(s):La Porte-parole
  • Source:Flash Info N° 034-2006
  • 09-03-2007
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