June 12, 2017

On 9 June 2017, Kristin Hausler participated in the conference on Cultural Heritage in danger: illicit trafficking, armed conflicts and Cultural Diplomacy, at the Canterbury Cathedral Lodge, which was organised by the Center for Heritage, University of Kent. Her presentation focused on the EU’s diplomatic response to ‘cultural heritage in danger’, highlighting the two key areas in which the EU has taken initiatives in that regard, namely the combat of trafficking and the safeguarding of cultural heritage. She presented the three forms of actions through which the EU has addressed those issues: (1) legislation, with the two Council Regulations restricting the import of cultural goods from Iraq and Syria respectively;  (2) programmes and partnerships (whether focused on cultural heritage or including cultural heritage matters); and (3) financial support to other organisations, such as to UNESCO’s Action Plan for Syria with the funding of the Emergency Safeguarding of the Syrian Cultural Heritage project, which includes the Observatory of Syrian Cultural Heritage. She concluded by presenting ‘Towards an EU Strategy for international cultural relations’, a document which was adopted in June 2016, following the Preparatory Action on ‘Culture in EU External Relations’ (2013-2014). This strategy, which should be launched in 2018, the first European year of Cultural Heritage, focuses on cultural heritage in danger as it contains a number of specific actions to be implemented to combat trafficking and strengthened the protection of cultural heritage. With regard to trafficking, it includes a legislative proposal to regulate the import into the EU of cultural goods, based on the results of a recently launched study to identify gaps in national legislation, and measures associated with the Action Plan for strengthening the fight against terrorist financing. As for the safeguarding of cultural heritage, it includes actions aimed at sharing satellite imagery of cultural heritage sites at risk with, inter alia, UNESCO through the Copernicus Emergency Management Service, in order to evaluate damage and plan possible reconstruction, for example.

Full programme available at the University’s website.

Photos: Kristin Hausler (presenting) and Kristin with the conference’s keynote speaker Dr Artemis A. Papathanassiou (former Chair of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, Senior Legal Advisor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greece).