CIS cultural heritage as a factor of cooperation

In 2019, the next Congress «World Heritage of the CIS Countries: Cultural Heritage as a Factor in the Development and Promotion of Cooperation and Dialogue» was held.

Representatives of the Commonwealth Countries for the fourth time gathered at the Russian Research Institute of Cultural and Natural Heritage named after Dmitry Likhachev. The meeting was chaired by Vladimir Aristarkhov, Director of the Institute.

“Being the Basic Organization of the CIS Member States in the field of World Heritage Preservation, our Institute annually holds this congress. At it, we exchange experience on a wide range of issues related to UNESCO sites. We are pleased that this year almost all the signatory countries of the document – Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan – sent their representatives,” he said.

In addition, the congress also gathered representatives of other CIS countries – Moldova and Azerbaijan. At the Constituent Assembly of the Expert Council of the Base Organization, which was held as part of the Сongress, it was decided to appeal to the CIS Executive Committee with a request to consider the possibility of inviting Moldova, Azerbaijan and other Commonwealth countries to join the document.

In addition, the Chairman of the Expert Council for 2020 was elected at the meeting. It was Natalia Khvir, the Head Of The Historical And Cultural Heritage Protection Department at the Culture Ministry. In her speech, she emphasized that she considers the consolidation of efforts of the CIS countries to promote outstanding objects of cultural and natural heritage in the international arena as a priority in the work of the Council.

“We must support each other’s nominations at UNESCO, prepare cross-border, mutual nominations, and popularize the mutual heritage of our countries. My task is to coordinate and inspire this work,” she said.

Nadezhda Filatova, the Head of the World Heritage and International Cooperation Department, Russian Research Institute of Cultural and Natural Heritage, suggested, as plans for 2020, that the Council shall monitor objects and projects that are promising from the point of view of joint nomination at UNESCO.

The plenary meeting was greeted by Mr Leonid Kondrashev, the President of National Committee of International Council on Monuments and Sites (NK ICOMOS), Russia, and by Mr Kirill Rynza, the Head of Department, the Front Office of the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO

The thematic sections discussed issues and problems associated with World Heritage nomination, management of Historical Sites, identification and preservation of attributes of outstanding universal value. In preparation for the ICCROM courses, a lecture was opened on the management of World Heritage Sites with a religious component (Temples, Monasteries, and Muslims Places of Worship). Congress participants presented their experience on cooperation with international organizations: the Council of Europe, ICOMOS and the Denkmal Forum.

Traditionally, at the congress, Liudmila Buzina and Nargiz Aytuganova, the staff members of the World Heritage and International Cooperation Department, presented a retrospective of the events that took place in the World Heritage in 2019.

Representatives of the following Cultural and Natural Heritage Sites also made presentations: the archeological site of Tanais (Rostov Region) and Nizhny Dzhulat (Kabardino-Balkaria), Historic Centre of Sheki with the Khan’s Palace (Azerbaijan), Shulgan-Tash Caves (Bashkortostan), and the Bolgar State Historical and Architectural Museum-Reserve (Tatarstan); Church of the Ascension in Kolomenskoye (Moscow), Derbent (Dagestan), resorts of the Caucasian Mineral Waters, Kirillo-Belozersky Museum-Reserve, Ensemble of the Novodevichy Convent and Solovetsky Monastery Ensemble.

As a part of the cultural program, the forum participants familiarized themselves with “Kenozero Heritage” photo exhibitions by Konstantin Goncharov and “World Heritage Sites in the Russian Federation”, provided by the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.

Maria Ermakova,
Russian Heritage Institute, head of PR