18 июля 2011

Meeting between A.A.Avdeev, Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation and K.Rao, Director of the World Heritage Centre

A meeting was held on July 15, 2011 in Moscow between the Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation A.A.Avdeev and Director of the World Heritage Centre (WHC) of UNESCO K. Rao. During the meeting they discussed preparation and holding of the 36th regular session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee (WHC) in 2012 in St. Petersburg, transfer of a number of the World Heritage Sites of religious significance to Russia’s religious organizations, as well as our country’s participation in the restoration of Orthodox shrines in Kosovo (Republic of Serbia). A.A.Avdeev reaffirmed the Russian Federation’s commitment to fulfill the obligations arising from Russia’s participation in the 1972 Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. In connection with the decision of the 35th Session of the UNESCO WHC to organize a regular session of the Committee in St. Petersburg, the necessary conditions will be created in the near future for the signing of an agreement with UNESCO on the session basic parameters, necessary funding allocation for this purpose and creation of a competent organizing committee of the forum. The Minister noted the importance of the upcoming event, especially in the light of the fact that 2012 is the 40th anniversary of the Convention. Under the agreement with UNESCO which was signed on November 29, 2010 for participation in financing the reconstruction of Orthodox shrines in Kosovo (Serbia), the Russian Federation donated $2 million for technical and expert assistance for the restoration of Orthodox culture monuments. At a meeting at the WHC in December 2010 with the participation of Russia and Serbia, phasing of preparatory and restoration works was defined. According to K. Rao, the UNESCO Venice Office before the end of July 2011 will have prepared the necessary tender documents and in September it will announce results of the tender to proceed with the restoration already in autumn this year before winter sets in. As to the World heritage sites of religious significance, the Ministry of Culture which is responsible for their safety, is creating a Coordinating Council of representatives from all parties concerned, including the Russian Orthodox Church, to develop a procedure for the management of the site being transferred. Among other things, the question is about ensuring the continuity of the rich experience of experts from the Russian Ministry of Culture in conservation of World Heritage Sites in their further use for a liturgical purpose.