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Committee calls for measures to preserve endangered sites

Endangered heritage and the lack of safeguards for it are of concern for many member states, particularly in central and eastern Europe, south east Europe and the Caucasus, said the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and the Media, adding that Western Europe is no exception to this trend, with several historical sites under threat as a result of the financial crisis and the severe budgetary cuts in the cultural field.

The report by Vesna Marjanović (Serbia, SOC), which the committee adopted in Paris today, analyses a number of factors that threaten heritage in Europe. These include neglect, a lack of training, institutional changes, large-scale urban development, conflict and post-conflict situations, natural disasters and conflicting policies.

The adopted text states that heritage conservation needs long-term integrated strategies and coherent policies including investment plans, which should take account not only of the costs of heritage conservation projects, but also of the potential of heritage conservation as a key element in socio-economic regeneration projects and of its democratic value for society.

At the same time, the parliamentarians believed it was essential to build a stronger link between education and heritage in order to engage people, especially young people, with their history and culture. Lastly, they called on member states to sign, ratify and implement the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society (the Faro Convention) and to mainstream heritage protection into decision-making in relation to planning and policy at national, regional and local levels.