The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the World Heritage Committee launched the Global Coalition - Unite for Heritage - here on Monday during the 39th session of the World Heritage Committee meeting, building support for the global protection of heritage.
"The threat is global and our response must be global. It requires better coordination among national services, the exchange of information among states. Nothing can replace, in this area, the action of governments," said Irina Bokova, director-general of UNESCO.
"Cultural sites have a universal value, they belong to all and must be protected by all. We are not just talking about stones and buildings. We are talking about values, identities and belonging," according to Bokova.
She and Maria Boehmer, chair of World Heritage Committee, called on the civil societies of all states, in particular heritage experts, foundations and non-government organizations to join in the protection.
Boehmer, who is also state minister at the federal foreign office of Germany, stressed that the world should stand united not only for the protection of cultural and natural heritage in all current armed conflict areas where it is threatened by extremists and criminals, such as in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and elsewhere, but also where it is threatened by natural disasters, such as in Nepal.
Unite for Heritage, with messages of unity, tolerance and solidarity, focuses primarily but not exclusively on Arab countries, in response to unprecedented attacks on the region's cultural diversity and heritage nowadays.
The 39th session, lasting from June 28 to July 8, is about to examine proposals to inscribe 36 properties on UNESCO's World Heritage List, revised from 38 properties after two proposals from Austria and Romania quit.
"Tusi" chieftain system from China, represented by the ruins of Hailongtun castle in Zunyi of Guizhou Province, the Tangya Tusi city in Xianfeng County in Hubei Province and the Yongshun old Tusi city in Hunan Province, are among the nominations.