Audrey Azoulay, Minister of Culture and Communication, presented on Friday, March 24, 2017 to the United Nations Security Council in New York, the draft resolution, carried by France and Italy, on the protection of cultural heritage in situations of armed conflict.

For the first time, the Security Council, in the presence of the Director-General of UNESCO, adopted a resolution entirely devoted to the protection of heritage in conflict zones, without geographical limitation and for all types of threats (destruction, theft and looting, trafficking).

The destruction of cultural heritage during armed conflicts aims to destroy the memory of peoples already bruised in their flesh. It is also a major safety issue.

On the counter-terrorist dimension as well as on all the other aspects it covers, resolution 2347 contains specific operational recommendations that concretely improve the international system for the protection of heritage. 

This is an important step, which sees the international community recalling the major stakes that are attached to the protection of cultural heritage, the true common good of humanity that it is the responsibility of the international community to protect. 

This resolution follows the December 2016 Abu Dhabi International Conference on the Protection of Endangered Cultural Heritage, organized by France and the United Arab Emirates. The resolution thus takes up in particular the two main operational achievements of the Abu Dhabi conference: the creation of an international fund and the organization of a network of shelters for threatened cultural property.

The unanimous adoption of this founding text testifies to the mobilization of the international community at the highest level, notably involving UNESCO and many States including Italy, co-author of the resolution with France, and the United Arab Emirates.

The meeting of the Security Council precedes by a few days the meeting of the Ministers of Culture of the G7 countries to be held, at the invitation of Italy, in Florence on 30 and 31 March, and will also highlight the need to protect heritage in conflict situations in order to preserve and transmit the history and memory of humanity.