23 May 2014
UN and EU agree to cooperate to restore cultural heritage in Timbuktu
On 16 May, the United Nations and the European Union entered into an agreement to finance the restoration of the cultural heritage in Timbuktu, which was destroyed by armed groups after clashes in 2012 between the Malian Government forces and Tuareg rebels. The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will coordinate the restoration project and train local personnel in order to ensure enduring preservation. The EU will contribute to the restoration by providing 500,000 euros. The heritage project will be directed in collaboration with the Malian Ministry of Culture, Higher Education and Scientific Research. The UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) will provide logistical aid.
Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General, stated that ‘the agreement signed today shows that we are on track,’ and that ‘two mausoleums have now been rebuilt and this new agreement comes at an opportune moment to speed up work underway and ensure that the people of Mali can reclaim heritage that is essential to their identity and that can contribute to reconciliation. This is vital for Mali and is important for the rest of the world because World Heritage is common to us all.’