Italy returns after 20 years to UNESCO World Heritage Committee

Italy returns after 20 years to UNESCO's World Heritage Committee. Great satisfaction from Ministers Franceschini and Di Maio.

After a 20-year absence,Italy is returning to the World Heritage Committee, which meets once a year, includes representatives from 21 Unesco member countries (there are 193 in all), and is responsible for everything related to World Heritage. Italy’s inclusion among the 21 members was decided today during the 23rd General Assembly of States of the World Heritage Convention, being held Nov. 24-26 at UNESCO headquarters in Paris under the chairmanship of Tebogo Seokolo, South Africa’s permanent delegate to UNESCO.

During the session, the assembly elected 12 new member countries to the World Heritage Committee: Argentina, Belgium, Bulgaria, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Qatar, Rwanda, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Zambia. They will replace countries at the end of their terms, namely Australia, Bahrain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, China, Guatemala, Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, Norway, St. Kitts and Nevis, Spain, and Uganda. Thus the committee is now composed of Argentina, Belgium, Bulgaria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, Mali, Mexico, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Rwanda, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Thailand and Zambia.

Great satisfaction on the part of Italian authorities: Italy had in fact been missing from the World Heritage Committee since 2001, that is, since the mandate began in 1997. “The return of Italy to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee after a twenty-year period,” said Culture Minister Dario Franceschini, “is an important result, the result of the synergic work of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the diplomatic network and the Ministry of Culture, which dedicates priority attention to Unesco. It comes in the year when, thanks to the latest awards, our country becomes the one with the largest number of sites included in the list of World Heritage Sites. Just a few months after the first G20 of Culture celebrated at the Colosseum in Rome in which Unesco played a leading role and in which all participating countries reaffirmed, in the Rome Charter, the centrality and commitment to the protection and enhancement of tangible and intangible heritage around the world.” Just this summer, Italy returned to lead the World Heritage list, with 58 sites, thanks to the entries of the Portici of Bologna, Padua Urbs Picta and the Baths of Montecatini.

“This very important result,” noted Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, “which is the result of the work conducted by the Farnesina, the Permanent Representation to UNESCO and the entire Network, in close connection with the Ministry of Culture, crowns our traditional commitment to the protection of cultural and natural heritage and calls us to further intensify international cooperation to adequately respond to the global challenges that threaten Heritage, so that we can deliver it to future generations. This brilliant achievement comes on top of the election to the Executive Council at the previous General Conference and the numerous Listings last July (which led to our country having the highest number of registered Sites), making Italy increasingly a partner of absolute pre-eminence for UNESCO.”

Italy was nominated to the Committee as part of the two available positions in the geographical group of Europe and North America following the end of the terms of Norway and Spain. The term of appointment was reduced to four years to encourage the widest participation of states.

Italy returns after 20 years to UNESCO World Heritage Committee
Italy returns after 20 years to UNESCO World Heritage Committee

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