Tiziana Zennaro: Speech at the project completion ceremony of Agios Nicolaos Church

Oct 15, 2014

Agios Nicolaos Church - Project completion ceremony. UNDP Photo/Olkan Erguler, 15 October 2014

Welcome and good afternoon to our distinguished guests, to our European Commission colleagues, to Ms. Michaela Di Bucci, to our friends and colleagues of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage, to the mukhtars, and to all of you who have joined us today despite the bad weather.

As we speak, in the region, cultural heritage – possibly a church, a synagogue, an ancient palace or a mosque – is being destroyed. UNESCO has called it a “cultural cleansing”.

Cyprus, to the contrary, despite its problems, is experiencing a time of renewed shared responsibility towards its cultural heritage.

Today we celebrate the completion of one of 19 heritage conservation projects initiated by the bi-communal Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage, and implemented by UNDP thanks to the financial support of the European Union.

This is a reminder for all of us of the complexity and importance of safeguarding cultural heritage worldwide.

In this context, it becomes even more important to showcase good examples of heritage conservation and bi-communal collaboration such as the one we celebrate today.

Agios Nicolaos Church, with its repaired cracks on the domes; its vaults and bell tower saved from almost certain collapse, its cleaned and repaired iconostasis and original door preserved, is a concrete example of the great potential of cultural heritage in fostering dialogue.

An example to be proud of and that UNDP is committed to continue supporting in the next years, if funding will be provided.
Now that some of the cultural heritage sites are safeguarded, we are ready to work together on the educational, cultural and socio - economic dimensions of heritage conservation.

I would like to express some thanks.

To the European Union for funding this project and the wider Cultural Heritage Programme. Thank you to Ms. Michaela Di Bucci and to the colleagues on the ground Mrs. Alessandra Viezzer and Mr. Agustin Moya–Colorado for their invaluable support.  

Congratulations to the Technical Committee for this achievement.
I would like to thank Takis Hadjidemetriou and Ali Tuncay for all their efforts to protect the established collaboration and being able to overcome all obstacles for the good of the cultural heritage of the island.
I am very proud to work with you and with the other members of the Committee and of the Advisory Board.

Please allow me to thank my UNDP wonderful team, for their invaluable support in implementing this programme.

Thank you to the press for the interest shown in the Cultural Heritage projects and to all of you for coming today and sharing with us this special day.

We look forward to celebrating with you the completion of other successful conservation projects soon.

Thank you.

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