“The Cultural Heritage Technical Committee believes that it is the primary responsibility of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots to protect the endangered cultural heritage of the island, and that it is important for these monuments to be preserved, not only because they are important symbols for both Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots, as well as for humanity, but also because they have an intrinsic value of their own.” (Press statement of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage, 06 May 2009).
The Agreement of 21 March 2008 reached between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots under the auspices of the United Nations (UN), paved the way for the establishment of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage, dedicated to the recognition, promotion and protection of the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Cyprus.The Committee is supported in its work by an Advisory Board composed of archaeologists, architects, art historians and town planners from both communities. All its programmatic decisions are taken in line with the agreed principles and the task attributed to them by the two Leaders.
The Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage works to provide a mutually acceptable mechanism for the implementation of practical measures for the proper preservation, physical protection and restoration (including research, study and survey) of the cultural heritage of Cyprus. The Committee believes that the protection of cultural heritage is an integral part of the ongoing process of broadening areas of cooperation between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, which can most effectively be achieved through joint efforts.The protection of cultural heritage also stimulates sustainable development and mutual understanding.
An initial list of 40 sites in need of emergency care and conservation was approved by the Leaders. Additional monuments of great historical value or notable size have been added to this list. Particular attention was given to the archaeological importance of the monuments, reflecting their uniqueness, historical significance and role in society as well as their future educational role.
THIS PROJECT IS FUNDED BY THE EUROPEAN UNION
||Since 2012 approximately €14.7 million of European Union funds have been provided by the European Commission to implement the priorities of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage, for the islandwide preservation of Cyprus’ cultural heritage. This makes the EU the biggest contributor to the work of the Committee.
Since 2010 the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has assisted the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage to preserve the cultural heritage of Cyprus. UNDP directly implements and administers the Committee's conservation works and visibility efforts, hence creating a favourable environment for the non-political consideration of cultural heritage on both sides of the island. Joint monitoring visits and regular meetings with the Advisory Board of the Technical Committee are facilitated by UNDP to encourage and ensure the direct involvement in each stage of the project cycle. The direct involvement of technical teams from both communities (architects, archaeologists, engineers etc.) act, in time, as team- and confidence-building measures, allowing for increased exchange of experiences and the setting of a positive example of successful collaboration between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. Moroever, UNDP provides logistical and strategic support to the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage in its efforts to re-establish community links between villages and their former residents and encourage cross-community exchanges.
Confidence-building: The startup of the emergency measures activities in 2012 marked an important moment for the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage’s efforts to protect the island’s rich cultural heritage and to preserve its complete integrity. Several technical visits to different cultural heritage sites located island-wide were organised and facilitated by UNDP as part of the Technical Committee’s supervision work. Confidence-building measures were further encouraged by the participation of bi-communal teams of architects, engineers, designers, contractors etc. during the implementation phases of each project.
9 cultural heritage sites island wide, under Phase 1 of the project are benefited from emergency support measures and technical studies aiming at: i) determine the current state of each monument and which measures are to be taken to avoid a decline of the monument’s structure and a further collapses and ii) provide a safe and secure reinforcement of the monument prior to the commencements of future restoration works.
These sites have been selected by the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage based on their state of deterioration and the urgency to provide emergency support on the structure for the prevailing of the monument and the protection and safety of the visiting public.
Technical descrption of the intevention carried out in each site are provided in the fact sheets at the links below: