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General Assembly and Scientific Symposium of ICOMOS

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icomosThe 18th General Assembly and Scientific Symposium of ICOMOS took place in Florence, Italy from Nov 9th to 14th, 2014.  The conference is an opportunity to make contact with ministries, institutions, businesses, and local authorities interested in heritage matters, both in Italy and abroad. You can learn more by visiting ICOMOS General Assembly 2014

UNESCO Calls for Protecting Libya’s Cultural Heritage

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Protecting Libya’s heritageThere have been many recent reports of acts of vandalism, illicit trafficking and attacks on Libyan cultural heritage. These reports have been amid increasing deterioration of the security situation in Libya. Therefore, UNESCO has called on all parties for protection of Libya’s Cultural Heritage. In a statement, Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova stated that: “Libyan heritage is the expression of a shared memory of the country, and its respect represents a corner stone for long lasting national reconciliation”. She urged Libyan people to commit to and act for safeguarding of its national heritage and urged all parties to refrain from using cultural property and its immediate surroundings for military purposes as well as to abstain from any act of hostility directed at such property.

It has been reported that UNESCO is working with INTERPOL, the World Custom Organization (WCO) and specialized national police corps such as the Carabinieri (Italy), to order to increase vigilance on attempts of import, transit and sales of Libyan cultural property. UNESCO has also alerted Libyan neighboring countries on the threats of illicit trafficking of cultural property.

In addition, UNESCO is directly engaging with Libyan cultural professionals and NGOs to reinforce emergency measures for cultural heritage protection, and enable the rapid assessment, documentation and monitoring of heritage.

Agreement Between US and China on Climate Change, Greenhouse Gases

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greenhouse-gasesThe United States and China pledged Wednesday, November 12, to take ambitious action to limit greenhouse gases*, aiming to inject fresh momentum into the global fight against climate change ahead of make-or-break climate talks next year.

President Barack Obama announced that the U.S. would move much faster in cutting pollution, with a goal to reduce it 26 percent to 28 percent by 2025 from 2005 levels. Earlier in his presidency, Obama set a goal to cut emissions by 17 percent by 2020.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, whose country’s emissions are still growing as it builds new coal plants, didn’t commit to cut emissions by a specific amount. Rather, he set a target for China’s emissions to peak by 2030 or earlier if possible. He also pledged to increase the share of energy that China will derive from sources other than fossil fuels, such as solar and wind.

Both leaders were attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, hosted this year by Beijing. Their two countries have long been at loggerheads over global targets, with each saying the other should bear more responsibility for cutting emissions of gases blamed for heating up the atmosphere. 

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* A greenhouse gas is a gas in an atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiation within the thermal infrared range. This process is the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect. The primary greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone. Greenhouse gases greatly affect the temperature of the Earth; without them, Earth’s surface would average about 33 °C colder, which is about 59 °F below the present average of 14 °C (57 °F).

 

Protecting Australia’s Great Barrier Reef

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reefAustralian government unveiled a 35-year plan to manage risks and protect the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) as well as from having GBR reclassified by the United Nations as “in danger”. However, conservationists have warned that the plan which was announced just a few weeks ago did not go far enough as reported by the New York Times. The experts believe that the plan does not deliver bold, concrete actions.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization listed GBR as a World Heritage site in 1981 but warned that it might put the reef on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2015. Of Unesco’s 1,007 cultural and natural World Heritage properties, 46 are considered “in danger,” several of them in war-torn countries like Syria.

Great Barrier Reef stretches along most of the coastline of the state of Queensland and is about the size of Italy or Japan. However the Reef has been under increasing threat from climate change, poor water quality and the impact of coastal development that includes the controversial expansion of a major coal-loading port at Abbot Point. In fact, a government report in 2012 found that the reef had lost over half of its coral cover in 27 years.

The new plan which has been named Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan, is supposed to provide a framework for managing the reef, which includes monitoring turtle, coral trout and dugong populations and breeding; improving water quality; and setting targets for substantial reductions in farm chemicals leaching into the waters of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

However, according to NYT, WWF-Australia has said that the proposals were insufficient and that billions of dollars were needed to restore the health of the reef. It said that the report failed to set its targets high enough and allocate funds to help farmers cut fertilizer runoff, and that the government had failed to minimize dredging and dumping in the World Heritage area.

Abbas Kiarostami: “A Report” released on DVD

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kia-rostamiAbbas Kiarostami: A Report was released on DVD by Pathfinder Home Entertainment in North America on November 11, 2014.

This is the fifth film in the Renowned Iranian Artists series that Bahman Maghsoudlou has directed and produced. The previous entries are: Ahmad Shamlou: Master Poet of Liberty, Ahmad Mahmoud: A Nobel Novelist, Iran Darroudi: The Painter of Ethereal Moments, and Ardeshir Mohasses: A Rebellious Artist.

Abbas Kiarostami: A Report was premiered at Montréal World Film Festival in 2013 and since has been selected for various film festivals around the world, screening successfully in Toronto, Washington, Los Angeles, San Francisco and London.

This feature documentary is an analysis of the style and vision of Abbas Kiarostami, the world’s most iconic Iranian filmmaker, through the lens of his earliest work, including his first short film (Bread & Alley, 1970) and, particularly, his first feature, The Report. This early example of Kiarostami’s work gives insight into his poetic, humanistic tendencies, combining allegorical storytelling with a documentary, neo-realist sensibility, and often exploring the very nature of film as fiction, that have pervaded his work ever since, including such recent international sensations as A Taste of Cherry and Certified Copy. Exclusive interviews with film critics, historians and scholars (including the late great Andrew Sarris) and those directly involved in the making of The Report provide a look at how the career of this master independent auteur began and was shaped

The film has also been selected for Cineteca Nazionale in Rome, Italy on November 15, and the Middle East Studies Association of North America Film Festival (MESA) on November 22 in Washington DC.

Erbil Citadel added to the World Heritage List

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erbilThe United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has officially recognized Erbil Citadel as a World Heritage Site during a ceremony held on Nov 2nd, 2014 and UNESCO will take part in the rehabilitation of the ancient site located in Iraqi Kurdistan. Erbil Citadel won a battle to get on the respected UNESCO World Heritage List on June 21st, 2014.

Archaeologists believe that the settlement on the site, which has risen by some 30 meters as successive settlers built on remains left by their predecessors, could be at least 6,000 years old. It has been claimed that the site is the oldest continuously inhabited town in the world.
The Citadel of Erbil is a rich historical repository holding evidence of many millennia of habitation; thousands of years old, it is the longest continuously inhabited site in the world. This longevity was made possible by the existence of abundant ground water, which has sustained the population throughout its long history. Based on the results of UNESCO expert missions, the Organization has developed a project proposal which is a very important preparatory component of a broader project, the Conservation Master Plan and Nomination file to subscribe the Erbil Citadel at the World Heritage List (WHL).

A memorandum of understanding was signed between Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and UNESCO on 2nd September 2007 to proceed with the first phase of the rehabilitation and restoration project of Erbil Citadel. Since 2007, several projects aimed at the conservation and revitalization of the Citadel have been initiated by the Kurdistan Regional Government and implemented through the High Commission for the Erbil Citadel Revitalization (HCECR) and UNESCO.