Since its establishment, the Council of Europe has been aware of the importance of cultural heritage for achieving a greater unity among Europeans. Through its activities, it illustrates the importance of heritage as a tool to facilitate intercultural dialogue, a peaceful co-existence and conflict prevention. At a time when our societies face new and profound challenges, cultural heritage has become a crucial element for the construction of a peaceful and democratic society, and a key element in the processes of sustainable development and promotion of cultural diversity.
Through its broad network of destinations linked in transnational thematic routes, the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe Programme encourages widespread community participation in cultural activities, raises awareness of a common cultural heritage and promotes the European dimension of citizenship. Each route invites European citizens to re-explore their heritage while acting as emblematic platforms for sustainable development, intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding.
In follow up to its Resolution 2057 (2015) “Cultural heritage in crisis and post-crisis situations”, the Parliamentary Assembly could explore the relevance of the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe to promote peace and intercultural dialogue. The report could present significant experiences at local, regional, national and international level in which Cultural Routes promote open exchanges based on mutual understanding between individuals and groups of different origins, cultures, religions and languages and how these initiatives contribute to the prevention of religious, linguistic, political and cultural tensions.
Moreover, the Assembly could call for a broader adherence to the Cultural Routes Programme and recommend expanding the ongoing activities under the European Heritage Strategy for the 21st Century and the Council of Europe Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society (Faro Convention) to assist member States to innovate in this field.