Plácido Domingo: destruction of Cultural Heritage is a Human Rights Issue

Plácido Domingo: destruction of Cultural Heritage is a Human Rights Issue

Maestro Plácido Domingo, as President of Europa Nostra and Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO, contributed via a video message to the event Time To End Intentional Destruction of Cultural Heritage: A Human Rights Call to Action held on 27 October at the UN Headquarters. The discussion centred upon the report presented by the UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Ms Karima Bennoune.

Plácido Domingo applauded this report that constitutes a vigorous human rights call to action to end intentional destruction of cultural heritage. He also saluted all heritage heroes and defenders taking part in the critical discussion.

In his passionate message he urged the world leaders and citizens alike to work stronger and closer together. He stressed that “It is our human right to protect and preserve cultural heritage, to access it and enjoy it; and to transmit it to our children and grandchildren. Today these rights cannot be taken for granted and require our collective, vigorous defence. This is a duty for humankind as a whole and for each and everybody of us! Referring to intentional destruction of cultural heritage, the President of Europa Nostra stressed:

“when cultural heritage is attacked, damaged or destroyed anywhere in the world, it is our heritage – yours and mine – that is attacked, damaged and destroyed.”

“These destructions undermine our human right to know our own history and the histories of our neighbours. These destructions seek to erase the record of human genius and human creation and by doing so, to erase our collective memory as human beings. These deplorable acts therefore must be firmly condemned and eventually stopped, as advocated in the Report of the UN Special envoy for Cultural Rights.”

Ms Karima Bennoune, UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, expressed every appreciation for Europa Nostra’s support to her report and her appeal to the international community. She thanked especially Europa Nostra President, Plácido Domingo, for his forceful and inspiring message which will be posted on the website of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights based in Geneva, and will be widely shared. In this way, Plácido Domingo’s message will become a most welcome tool for further campaigning for the safeguarding of cultural heritage as part of the UN action for protection of human rights with special emphasis on the relevance of cultural rights.

Watch the Video Message

Plácido Domingo delivers message on European Year of Cultural Heritage to President Juncker

Plácido Domingo, in his capacity as President of Europa Nostra, congratulated Jean-Claude Juncker on the crucial decision recently taken by the President of the European Commission to organise a European Year of Cultural Heritage in 2018 and reiterated that Europa Nostra and its leadership stand ready to contribute to the successful implementation of this initiative which is so fundamental for Europe and its citizens. This special message was conveyed by Plácido Domingo to Jean-Claude Juncker during their meeting held on the afternoon of 18 May 2016 at the EC headquarters in Brussels, where Maestro Domingo, in his capacity of Honorary Chairman of IFPI – International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, was received by the EC President.

Jean-Claude Juncker, Placido Domingo
Jean-Claude Juncker, Placido Domingo

In his letter delivered to President Juncker, Plácido Domingo stated: “Europa Nostra has been one of the main supporters of the European Year of Cultural Heritage. We are therefore extremely pleased that all EU Institutions, including the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament, agreed that such a Year has the potential to generate the much needed positive energy and cohesive force between communities and citizens in Europe. Our position is shared by all 36 European networks which form part of the European Heritage Alliance 3.3. which was initiated and is coordinated by Europa Nostra.”

President Juncker was also presented with a copy of the Report ‘Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe’ (CHCFE) – recently produced by Europa Nostra together with 5 other European partners – which demonstrates the positive impact of cultural heritage on Europe’s economy, society, culture and environment.

“In the light of so many challenges – and also many threats Europe and the entire European project are facing today, we strongly believe that our culture and our cultural heritage constitute a strategic resource with a cohesive force for Europe. We therefore encourage you and your team to use this resource in a much more prominent way as a tool for achieving the European Commission’s policy priorities,” advocated the President of Europa Nostra.

European Commission proposes European Year of Cultural Heritage in 2018

European Commission proposes European Year of Cultural Heritage in 2018

The day of 19 April 2016 shall be remembered as a historic day for our ever-growing European movement for cultural heritage. During the opening session of the bi-annual European Culture Forum in Brussels, Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, publicly announced that the European Commission will propose to the EU Council and the European Parliament that 2018 will be the European Year of Cultural Heritage, following an exchange of letters between President Jean-Claude Juncker and President Martin Schultz (click here for the address made by Commissioner Navracsics).

This announcement was followed by a powerful and engaged speech by Silvia Costa, MEP, who is the Chair of the Committee on Culture and Education of the European Parliament. Silvia Costa has been one of the main supporters of the proposed Year within the European Parliament and is in close dialogue with all stakeholders concerned. “Culture and cultural heritage should be the new soul and new identity for a new Europe,” concluded Silvia Costa. In the afternoon, the Italian Minister of Culture, Dario Franceschini, also expressed the full support of his government to the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018.

Europa Nostra’s Vice-President Piet Jaspaert and Secretary General Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović have had the great pleasure to attend the European Cultural Forum and to witness this important public announcement. Representatives from other European Networks working in the wider field of heritage, who are members of our European Heritage Alliance 3.3, also participated in the Forum.

“Together we have had the opportunity to congratulate in person Commissioner Navracsics and MEP Silvia Costa immediately after their speeches on their decisive leadership and commitment to rallying the support of the European Commission and European Parliament for the proposed European Year of Cultural Heritage. We also assured these high-level representatives from the EU Institutions that the civil society networks and organisations active in the field of heritage stand ready to contribute to the implementation of the European Year of Cultural Heritage in 2018 with creativity and energy. During the plenary session of the European Heritage Alliance 3.3., held on the eve of the European Culture Forum (18 April – World Heritage Day!), at the Europa Nostra’s Brussels Office, we had a preliminary discussion on the main messages we hope to convey, the tools we intend to use, as well as the outcomes which we aim to achieve during the Year,” stated Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović in a special message sent today to the wide network of Europa Nostra.

Europa Nostra and its President, Maestro Plácido Domingo, applaud this important development at this high level of the European Union, which is a remarkable achievement for us all, but also an immense responsibility. “We look forward to celebrating the future European Year of Cultural Heritage, together with Commissioner Navracsics, with many members and partners, and together with proud laureates of our European Heritage Awards run in partnership with the European Commission, on the occasion of our forthcoming European Heritage Congress which will be held in Madrid on 22-27 May. We therefore hope that you will join us in Madrid in big numbers where we will have the opportunity to continue our discussion on the ways in which we can ensure that the European Year of Cultural Heritage will serve as a platform for connecting and amplifying many excellent heritage initiatives – local, regional, national and European – which have already been developed across Europe,” affirmed the President of Europa Nostra.

At a time when the European Union is confronted with a wide range of political, economic and social challenges, and at a time when the entire European project is threatened by alarming forms of extremism and Euroscepticism, the decision to declare 2018 as the European Year of Cultural Heritage has a very special meaning and significance, both for the European Union Institutions and Member States and for Europe’s communities and citizens.

“Therefore we now wish to reach out to each and every member of our wide European family, to listen carefully to your views, concerns, dreams and ideas, and to invite you to get actively engaged in the exciting process ahead of us. Let us have a regular and creative dialogue in the months to come which we shall gladly bring to the due attention of policy and decision makers in Europe and incorporate as much as possible in Europa Nostra’s 3-year strategic and action plan for 2017-2019 with the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 at its heart”, emphasised the Secretary General of Europa Nostra.

Standing up for cultural heritage

Standing up for cultural heritage

The European Parliament adopted by a large majority its Resolution ‘Towards an integrated approach to cultural heritage for Europe’ emphasising the importance of implementing an integrated approach towards cultural heritage and of ensuring sufficient European funding for this sector. The Resolution also refers to new governance models, the economic and strategic potential of cultural heritage as well as opportunities and challenges.

To read the text in any official EU language, click here.

Photo: Plenary Session week 38 2015 in Brussels: Resumption of session and order of business captured by © European Union 2015 – Source : EP

Fresh off the press: The Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe Report is now available online

Fresh off the press: The Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe Report is now available online

The partners of the EU-funded project ‘Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe’ (CHCFE) have published on 12 June the main findings and strategic recommendations for tapping into heritage’s full potential by providing compelling evidence of the value of cultural heritage and its impact on Europe’s economy, culture, society and the environment.

The CHCFE project provides a response to the position paper Towards an EU Strategy for Cultural Heritage – The Case for Research presented by the European Heritage Alliance 3.3 to the European Commission in 2012.

The Full Report and Executive Summary are available here.

Photo: CHCfE Group Photo

Horizon 2020: ‘Getting cultural heritage to work for Europe’

Horizon 2020: ‘Getting cultural heritage to work for Europe’

The anticipated report of the Horizon 2020 expert group on cultural heritage is now available online. The report, presenting the conclusions of the Expert Group, provides the rationale for setting a renewed European Research & Innovation policy agenda on cultural heritage. It outlines the general framework about cultural heritage in Europe and the contribution it can make towards smarter, more inclusive and more sustainable development.

Under the chairmanship of Dr Philippe Busquin, former Commissioner for Research, Science and Technology and former Member of the European Parliament, the group of experts found that:

“Cultural heritage is a significant force for 21st century Europe. Not only is it at the heart of what it means to be European, it is being discovered by both governments and citizens as a means of improving economic performance, people’s lives and living environments… Evidence demonstrates that relatively modest investment in cultural heritage can pay substantial dividends. These can be taken economically but also in terms of improving environmental sustainability and social cohesion.”

The group of experts was established under the Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2014 for the Societal Challenge ‘Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials’. It was composed of nine renowned experts from the private and public sector, including Brian Smith, Secretary General of the European Association of Historic Towns and Regions, Member of European Heritage Alliance 3.3.

The European Cultural Tourism Network joins the Alliance

The European Cultural Tourism Network joins the Alliance

We are very pleased to welcome the European Cultural Tourism Network as 31st member of our Alliance!

ECTN is the only network which brings the tourism and cultural industry professionals working in different regions of Europe together to exchange experience and information on best practices.

The decision to form the European Cultural Tourism Network arose out of a conference on Cultural Tourism held in Brussels in February 2003 which was attended by representatives of 17 countries. It was clear from the delegates that a network was required to bring together people working in tourism and the cultural industries throughout Europe.

For more information on this new member, please see: www.ectn.eu.com

Photo: The monastery of Holy Trinity, in Thessaly, the region where the ECTN president member is located captured by Thomas Depenbusch

The European Museum Forum joins the Alliance

We are very pleased to announce that the European Museum Forum is the 30th member to join the European Heritage Alliance 3.3!

The European Museum Forum(EMF) operates under the auspices of the Council of Europe and is involved in far-ranging activities throughout the cultural field. It is one of the leading organisations in Europe for developing the public quality of European museums and has established this primary position after 35 years of providing its service.

For more information on this new member, please see: www.europeanmuseumforum.info