The United Nations Security Council unanimously approved the Resolution proposed by Italy and France, requiring Countries to protect cultural heritage from the destruction of war and against the illegal trafficking of historical assets. Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Vincenzo Amendola, was in New York where he contributed to the discussion and participated in the vote on behalf of Italy.
After establishing the blue helmets of culture – a corps set up through the agreement between Italy and UNESCO with the support of Italy’s Carabinieri – our Country is again actively engaged in protecting the unique cultural heritage of Countries such as Syria and Iraq, in the intent to preserve the culture and assets that are part of the history of all of Mankind. In a historical era characterised by the unprecedented threat of international terrorism, combating the trafficking of historical assets, which is the primary source of funding of terrorist groups, takes on particular relevance. In such a context, “the attacks on our historic and cultural heritage are not only a threat to our memory but also an attack on our collective future,” said Undersecretary Amendola.
The Security Council, by unanimously approving the resolution, transmitted a clear sign of commitment and an important response. The resolution is the first of the kind on an issue that will require utmost attention for many years to come. Among other things, the resolution approved today requires Countries to: adopt adequate and effective measures to regulate the export and import of historical assets, including a certificate of origin if necessary, in line with international standards; involve the museums, trade associations and antiquity dealers in this market in preventing the sale of stolen cultural heritage assets; create multi-level training programmes on the protection of cultural heritage and raise the awareness of public opinion on the illegal trafficking of cultural heritage assets and its prevention; boost efforts to help associations or museums in areas of war.
Through this initiative, the Italian Government follows up on a long-dated strategy to protect the world’s cultural heritage, which was recently relaunched by Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano and that is more important than ever today in the light of the international situation. The result obtained is evidence of the fact that the United Nations consider a continuous effort on this issue to be necessary and Italy, within its mandate as non-permanent member of the Security Council, deems it important to keep attention on the matter high, in the conviction that maintaining peace and security at global level necessarily requires protecting the world’s cultural and architectural heritage.