“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 €19.9 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 island wide 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.
The cultural heritage of Cyprus emanates from diverse and rich cultures and civilizations which have populated the island throughout history. It constitutes the common heritage of all Cypriots and of humanity regardless of its origin. Since 2010 the United Nations Development Programme and the European Commission have been assisting the bi-communal Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage (TCCH) to preserve the island’s cultural heritage.
This is the seventh phase of the “Support to cultural heritage monuments of great importance for Cyprus” programme, which aims to extend the support to the efforts of the TCCH thus contribute to the ongoing peace and confidence building process by bringing communities closer to their shared heritage through conservation and emergency safeguarding projects.
· Support the reconciliation process and to increase the levels of trust between the two main communities on the island. This will be achieved through the implementation of confidence building measures as agreed by the TCCH.
· Preserve Cypriot cultural heritage monuments of great importance. This is pursued by supporting conservation and/or emergency safeguarding measures for high importance cultural heritage sites. Confidence-building measures will be further strengthened by the participation of bi-communal teams during project implementation and through the inclusion of community engagement, awareness raising and educational components in the project.
Conservation works for selected cultural heritage sites:
A list of cultural heritage sites will be outlined for conservation works, once the selection process is completed.
Designs for conservation works of selected cultural heritage sites:
A list of cultural heritage sites will be outlined for conservation designs, once the selection process is completed.
The project will support the TCCH to implement a range of activities providing opportunities for increasing community engagement in the protection and preservation of cultural heritage in both communities. These include workshops, events, and more small-scale activities at the local level organised with relevant stakeholders in order to exchange experiences and share best practices in the protection and promotion of cultural heritage.