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Cultural Diplomacy

L’UNESCO is the only UN organization with a mandate for culture and in the public opinion, this field of work is indeed its flagship.

UNESCO is at the forefront on the international scene in :

– the safeguarding of tangible and intangible heritage, as tools to foster dialogue and promote peace

– the safeguarding of cultural heritage in crisis zones and the protection of cultural identities

– the fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural heritage, namely as a means to finance terrorism

In order to reach its objectives, UNESCO relies on an sound legal framework composed of six international conventions, all ratified by Italy. The latter represent a global cooperation platform based upon respect for cultural diversity and human rights.

  • Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict with Regulations for the Execution of the Convention (1954)
  • Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (1970)
  • Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage  (1972)
  • Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage (2001)
  • Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003)
  • Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (2005)

UNESCO’s work in the culture sector over the last few years – and more generally all its sector programmes – are based upon the awareness that culture is a key component of any form of sustainable development, as underlined by Resolutions 69/230 (2014) and 70/214 (2015) of the United Nations General Assembly.

The link between culture and sustainable development brings together the intellectual, economic and productive dimensions of development, allowing to improve the quality of life of each citizen while ensuring positive returns for each country. The relevance of culture for the economic growth of our societies is nowadays proven by a wide range of indicators that measure the wealth created by the culture sector in several countries around the globe.

The safeguarding of cultural heritage in crisis and conflict zones is another topical area of work of UNESCO’s culture sector which Italy strongly supports. In 2015, after the numerous attacks perpetrated against the cultural heritage of many peoples and nations, UNESCO launched a global awareness-raising campaign, “Unite4Heritage”, and addressed the international community to find shared solutions and tools.

Knowing that each attack against cultural heritage threatens global security by erasing the foundations of civilizations and the identity of peoples, UNESCO is strongly engaged in supporting Member States protect cultural heritage and cultural pluralism. Furthermore, a specialized Unit has been created in order to deal with such emergencies: the Emergency preparedness and response Unit.