An international conference on “UNESCO conventions’ role in preserving cultural values and aspects of improving their application” has started in Baku, Azernews reports.
The conference was co-organized by Azerbaijan National Commission for UNESCO, ICOMOS Azerbaijan National Committee, ICOM Azerbaijan National Committee, and ADA University.
ADA University’s Vice-rector, the Institute of Development and Diplomacy Director Fariz Ismayilzadeh expressed his gratitude to the conference participants from France, Israel, Pakistan, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Turkiye, and Ukraine, who have recently visited Agdam and Fuzuli.
As part of their visit to Azerbaijan’s liberated territories, international experts witnessed the consequences of Armenian vandalism and got acquainted with the reconstruction works carried out by the Azerbaijani state.
Speaking at the conference, Deputy Prime Minister Ali Ahmadov emphasized that Azerbaijan is a member of a total of 14 UNESCO Conventions, including the 1954 Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and the 1972 World Heritage Convention, which are of great importance for the protection of cultural resources.
The deputy prime minister emphasized that Azerbaijan remains committed to the obligations arising from these conventions.
The Culture Minister Anar Karimov said that 864 cultural institutions in the liberated territories were monitored. It was found out that some of them were deliberately destroyed, appropriated, and used for military purposes.
During his speech, Deputy Foreign Minister Mahmud Mammad-Guliyev reminded that Azerbaijan has been a UNESCO member for almost thirty years. He stressed that the country is a reliable partner of the organization.
Despite numerous appeals addressed to UNESCO by Azerbaijan, this mission has not yet been sent to the liberated territories.
The deputy foreign minister called on UNESCO to send a technical mission to this conference attended by foreign experts and diplomats.
State Tourism Agency Chairman Fuad Nagiyev noted that cultural heritage plays an indispensable role in the development of tourism in any country.
He noted that ICOMOS Azerbaijan National Committee was founded with the initiative and support of the State Tourism Agency.
In her speech, ICOMOS Vice-President Zeynep Gul Unal stressed the importance of UNESCO Conventions (1954 and 1972) for the protection of cultural monuments.
Chairman of the Turkish National Commission for UNESCO Ojal Oguz spoke about the action taken jointly by TURKSOY member countries to protect the intangible cultural heritage. He also congratulated Azerbaijan on the selection of the city of Shusha as the Cultural Capital of the Turkic World for 2023.
The scientific conference was followed by panel sessions.
Positive experiences and difficulties in applying the 1954 Hague Convention and its protocols were highlighted at the session moderated by Advisor to Vice-Rector for Government, External and Student Affairs Aygun Hajiyeva.
The panel session moderated by the Director of the National Carpet Museum and the head of the ICOM Azerbaijan National Committee Shirin Malikova discussed the application of UNESCO Conventions in order to improve the work of museums.
At the last session moderated by the president of ICOMOS Azerbaijan National Committee Sadagat Davudova, opinions were exchanged on the issues of reconstruction to be done on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention.
At the end of the conference, a package of relevant recommendations and proposals will be prepared and presented to UNESCO.