Numerous international treaties adopted under the auspices of UNESCO and the Council of Europe urge States to protect, safeguard and promote tangible and intangible manifestations of culture. Each of these treaty mechanisms creates a specific set of tools that allow members of the international community to work together to prevent the harmful impoverishment of the heritage of Europe.
Unfortunately, the inclusive cultural environment of Europe is being increasingly eroded, often due to unforeseen earlier threats: climate change, forced acculturation and the policy of the gradual cultural erasure of minority cultures. The later policy may include, inter alia, the relocation and decontextualisation of cultural artefacts, constraining access to education in native languages, impeding the diversity of commemoration practices, and the ethnically insensitive renaming of geographical objects. Fundamentally, these new threats to cultural diversity fuel suspicion and mistrust between cultures, undermine the democratic cohabitation of peoples, and diminish the cultural resplendence of Europe.
The Parliamentary Assembly should analyse how the cultural diversity can be better protected through the synergetic application of the international conventions and should propose guidelines highlighting how the Council of Europe can champion the international response to the new threats to culture.