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Building Peace through the Protection of Cultural Heritage

For the first time ever, a resolution for the protection of cultural heritage has been adopted at the United Nations Security Council.

UN image

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova at the public briefing of the United Nations Security Council. (Source: United Nations <http://en.unesco.org/news/security-council-adopts-historic-resolution-protection-heritage>)

Resolution 2347 for the protection of heritage was passed in New York at the 7907th meeting of the UN’s most powerful body. It is of immense significance. It extends the previous measures which were limited to illicit trafficking in looted artefacts, and condemns the destruction of cultural heritage by terrorist groups and in places of armed conflict.

The unanimous support of the resolution reflects a new recognition of the importance of heritage protection for peace and security. It enables greater cooperation between public and private organisations, but will require increased funding.

Back in Sydney, the documentary film Destruction of Memory demonstrated the power of individuals to protect, salvage and rebuild cultural identity in the wake of armed conflict. In 2016, GML sponsored a screening at the Chauvel and it was recently shown again at Sydney Ideas. The film is uncompromising and compelling in its historical account of the ‘war against culture’, but shows also how humanity and tenacity can make a genuine difference.