30 June 2012

Welcoming speech by H.E. Ms Eleonora Valentinovna Mitrofanova Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee Permanent Delegate of the Russian Federation to UNESCO

Distinguished Members of the World Heritage Committee, Mr Director of the World Heritage Centre, Excellencies, Dear colleagues and friends, After the exciting visits to the palaces and parks of Peterhof Museum and to the Pulkovo Central Astronomical Observatory, you have now the occasion to admire another historic architectural complex of the city of Saint-Petersburg, the Peter and Paul Fortress . I am therefore extremely happy to welcome you here today. Built in 1703 by Peter the Great, today the fortress has become the emblem of the city. It is located in the very heart of Saint-Petersburg and more than ever in the hearts of its people. Now, it is also home of the City History Museum, and in connection to this I would like that we warmly welcome its Director, Mr Alexandre Kolyakin, who is present among us today. As you know, today`s evening cultural programm is entirely dedicated to 40th Anniversary of the World Heritage Convention, ratified by the Russian Federation in 1988. This event is only a part of Saint-Petersburg and the country’s great contribution to the celebration going through this year 2012. The provisions of the Convention are the framework for the preservation of Russia`s World Heritage sites, and especially of those located in the historic centre of Saint-Petersburg and its suburbs, as it stands for any other property of outstanding universal value, in any other region. The Convention has always proved its potential to contribute substantially to the efforts of individuals, civil society actors, national authorities and international organizations for the execution of the tangible heritage protection and education, and by this mean of the sustainable management and development in our planet. Since the theme of the celebration is the World Heritage and Sustainable Development, Role of Local Communities, better community involvement in the management of heritage properties should become a guiding priority for our further collective action towards the future effective implementation of the Convention. Dear colleagues, Let me extend my congratulations to all Committee Members and State Parties for the achievements resulting from their longstanding commitment to the Convention and wish further fruitful reflection on its future. Welcome again to this special cultural event at the Peter and Paul Fortress. I wish you a pleasant evening. Peter and Paul Fortress, Saint-Petersburg