Thursday, February 25, 2016
The Council of Ministers of Culture of South-East Europe ‘Enhancing Culture for Sustainable Development’ gathered on 24-25 February 2016 in Istanbul, Turkey. The main purpose of this second CoMoCoSEE meeting wss to discuss the further enhancement of the regional cooperation in the field of culture and development, with a special focus on supporting the implementation of the “Ohrid Regional Strategy for Cultural Cooperation in South-East Europe”.
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Turkey is organising the second meeting of the leading regional cooperation platform in the field of culture, since the revision of its format in 2014. As proposed by the Council of Ministers of Culture of South-East Europe (CoMoCoSEE) rotating presidency, currently held by the Republic of Turkey, the meeting will focus on the “Protection and Sustainable Management of Cultural Heritage in South-East Europe: priorities, challenges and opportunities for reinforcing regional cooperation on culture within the CoMoCoSEE ”.
Participating delegations will share ideas and proposals to advance their common efforts for the enhancement of cultural heritage as a driver for sustainable development, in the wake of the recent approval of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The programme and working documents of the meeting in Istanbul are the results of the preparatory meeting of the CoMoCoSEE Committee of Officials – at the initiative of the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, Venice (Italy), in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Turkey – which took place on 10 December last in Venice.
Among the expected outputs, the meeting is foreseen to approve joint action lines to strengthen regional cooperation in 2016, according to the “Ohrid Regional Strategy for Cultural Cooperation in South-East Europe”. The document, also known as the “Ohrid Strategy”, was approved by CoMoCoSEE in June 2014 during the first meeting of the new, unified platform for ministerial cooperation in the region; it outlines priority areas for regional cooperation to enhance culture as a driver for sustainable development, as well as relevant action strategies and monitoring mechanisms.
A special focus for discussion of the joint declaration to be adopted by the Ministers on 25 February, will be put on the sustainable use of cultural heritage, disaster risk reduction, and the fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural property.
Participants will include ministers and high representatives of the CoMoCoSEE Member States: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Montenegro, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey. Observers (Austria, Italy, UNESCO, European Commission, Council of Europe) will also attend the meeting.
H.E. Mr Mahir Ünal, Minister of Culture and Tourism of Turkey will welcome the participants. Will follow a plenary session with speeches by the Ministers and heads of delegations of the CoMoCoSEE Member States. The Director-General of UNESCO will be represented by Francesco Bandarin, Assistant Director-General for Culture a.i., who will be accompanied by Ana Luiza Thompson-Flores, Director of the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and in Culture in Europe.
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