Ukraine: UNESCO Supports Odesa's Heritage and Cultural Life

Saturday, September 3, 2022
Ukraine: UNESCO Supports Odesa's Heritage and Cultural Life

At a meeting with UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay at the Organization’s Headquarters, Oleksandr Tkachenko, Ukrainian Minister of Culture and Information, announced that his country will request the inscription of Odesa on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

Since the beginning of the war, UNESCO has been deploying emergency measures in Ukraine as part of its mandate for education, culture, science, information and communication. The Organization has mobilized close to $7 million to date, provided numerous in-kind grants and made its experts available to advise professionals on the ground.

A working meeting was held at UNESCO Headquarters on Tuesday between Ms Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General, Mr Tkachenko, Ukrainian Minister of Culture and Information, and Ernesto Ottone, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture, to ensure the proper implementation of these actions in the field of culture. On this occasion, the Minister also expressed new needs which UNESCO is committed to meet.

Inscription of Odesa on the World Heritage List

Oleksandr Tkachenko announced Ukraine’s decision to submit t the nomination of the Historic Centre of Odesa for inscription on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Nationally recognized and protected, this site is located only a few dozen kilometres from the front line and has already been struck by artillery fire. On 24 July 2022, part of the large glass roof and windows of Odesa’s Museum of Fine Arts, inaugurated in 1899, were destroyed.

At the request of Ukraine, UNESCO has already mobilized international experts to provide technical support to the country so that this nomination can be examined urgently by Member States sitting on the World Heritage Committee, with a view of inscribing it on the World Heritage List and on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

The World Heritage Committee will also be recommended to add UNESCO’s World Heritage sites of Kyiv and L’viv, which are also under threat, to the List of World Heritage in Danger.

UNESCO completes its emergency measures on the ground

In parallel to these steps and in view of the new needs expressed by professionals in the field, the Director-General announced at this meeting that UNESCO would strengthen its support to the city of Odesa by providing:

  1. Funding to repair the damage inflicted on the Odesa Museum of Fine Arts and the Odesa Museum of Modern Art since the beginning of the war, and to finance the hiring of additional staff dedicated to the protection of collections.
  2. Support for the digitization of at least 1,000 works of art in Odesa as well as the documentary collection of the Odesa State Archives, through the  provision of appropriate hardware.
  3. New equipment to the Odesa Regional Administration for the in situ protection of cultural property: protective panels, sandbags, fire extinguishers, fireproof fabrics and gas masks will be delivered to the Department of Culture, Religion and Protection of Architectural Heritage. They will allow the recovery of public monuments and sculptures, which has been underway since the beginning of the war, to continue.

With a view to boosting the recovery of Ukraine’s cultural sector, the Director-General also offered the Organization’s support for the creation of a UNESCO Cultural Centre in L’viv, as requested by the city mayor. It would be a place for artists to meet and share experiences, and would host training programmes, various activities and events. A budget of $1.5 million has already been earmarked to finance its opening and operational costs over several months.

In addition, the Director-General of UNESCO decided to deploy a liaison officer in Kyiv to coordinate these actions. The officer will complement the team of local experts already working in the field.


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Image of the Day

Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.

Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.


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