After twenty years, our country is again in the Body that approves the inscriptions on the World Heritage List.
Starting from today, Italy is again a member of the World Heritage Committee, the UNESCO Body which has the last word on the inscriptions of new sites on the World Heritage List, pursuant to the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage of 1972.
Our country had been absent from the Body for twenty years: the last mandate dates back to the years 1997-2001. The elections for the renewal of the Committee were held this morning in Paris during the 23rd General Assembly of the States Parties to the 1972 Convention, after the 41st General Conference of the Organisation (9-24 November).
A candidate together with Greece and Belgium in Electoral Group I (Europe and North America), Italy was elected during the very first round of voting with a very important number of consensus from the Member States. Other members (eleven) of the six Electoral Groups were elected during the two rounds of voting.
The presence of our country in the Committee is in line with our long-standing commitment to the implementation of the World Heritage Convention, also confirmed by our absolutely priority number of sites registered on the List (58) and by the role that Italy will cover as host and co-organiser of the celebratory event of the 50th anniversary of the Convention, which will be held in Florence in 2022.
As a member of the Committee, Italy will offer to the entire Membership its consolidated skills in safeguarding cultural and natural heritage, in ordinary and crisis contexts, and in the protection and fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural property. In close collaboration with UNESCO, Italy also intends to contribute to a collective and inclusive growth of the List, fostering a bigger participation of the still underrepresented countries.
Minister Di Maio expressed great satisfaction at the outcome of the elections. As he observed, ‘this very important outcome is the result of the work of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Italian Permanent Delegation to UNESCO and the diplomatic network. It rewards our traditional commitment to the protection of cultural and natural heritage and urges us to further intensify international cooperation to adequately face the global challenges that threaten heritage, in order to be able to hand it over for future generations. This brilliant result joins the election to the Executive Body in the previous General Conference and the numerous sites that have been inscribed on the List last July, making Italy an always more preeminent partner for UNESCO ‘.