Cultural diversity and the richness of cultural heritage are important assets for European economies and societies. Article 15 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights recognises the fundamental right of all to benefit in this way. For that, culture has to be conserved and developed.
While national public funds and the private sector contribute, the bulk of conservation and development costs of cultural assets are borne by local authorities. The economic benefits accrue to nations in the whole of Europe. Cultural assets outside large cities are often at risk. That is since the main focus is upon assets within large towns and cities where most people are. This is a further reason why regional cultural assets tend to be overlooked. The cultural heritage of many regions has also suffered due to natural disasters; sometimes there is an irreversible loss.
The Council of Europe supports cultural heritage through its Faro Convention. This has precipitated useful practical action such as the enlarged partial agreement on cultural routes. In parallel, the European Union funds cultural projects as well. Therefore it is important for the Parliamentary Assembly to raise public awareness by promoting policies for the recognition of how culture and cultural heritage assist economies and societies. They do so when necessary actions for conservation and development have been deployed throughout Europe.