Reps of regional centres for cultural heritage in SEE meet in Zadar

place: Zadar, Croatia
 The first meeting of the regional centres for cultural heritage in southeastern Europe was held in Zadar on Friday, drawing representatives of the European Commission, the World Bank, other international institutions and officials of culture and foreign ministers of European countries.

The regional centres of excellence initiated within the framework of the annual Ministerial Conferences on Cultural Heritage in South-Eastern Europe, with the support of UNESCO, are key partners for the enhancement of sub-regional cooperation and the development of institutional and professional capacities in the safeguarding of cultural heritage, intended as a shared tool for fostering dialogue and sustainable development. The further strengthening of the centres is therefore considered as a common objective by the countries in the region, with the overall aim to improve the management of cultural assets as crucial resources for social and economic development, and to support the European integration process in the concerned areas.

Based on the joint Declarations approved by the Ministerial Conferences1, 4 centres have been officially established so far within this cooperation framework, namely:
- International Centre for Underwater Archaeology (Zadar, Croatia. The Centre operates under the auspices of UNESCO);
- Regional Centre on Intangible Cultural Heritage (Sofia, Bulgaria. The centre operates under the auspices of UNESCO);
- Regional Centre on Digitization of Cultural Heritage (Skopje, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia);
- Regional Centre on the Restoration of Cultural Heritage (Tirana, Albania)

A 5th Centre is going to be established in 2012, in Cetinje (Montenegro), specialised in the management of cultural heritage.
After an inception period characterised by a disparity related to the specific contexts and conditions for the establishment of each Centre, a new phase should now be opened during which a greater coordination and complementarity of action shall be achieved, based on a joint strategic vision.
In this sense, and with a view at the overall action of UNESCO in this area, the action of the Centres shall be fully integrated within the new initiatives launched by this Organisation in the field of culture, and targeting South-Eastern Europe. In particular, special reference must be made to the new framework initiative “Culture: a Bridge to Development”, approved by the General Conference of UNESCO at its 36th session (October-November 2011), to “promote innovative and creative approaches to culture as a bridge to sustainable social, economic and human development”.
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(Source: UNESCO)

(D.H., 26.03.2012)