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Russia’s election to World Heritage Committee strengthens positions in UNESCO, says envoy

Ambassador Alexander Kuznetsov said that t is rather difficult to be elected there due to a strong competition

PARIS, November 29. /TASS/. Russia’s election to the World Heritage Committee came as the culmination of a successful for the country 40th Session of the General Conference, that ended in Paris earlier this week. This testifies to international recognition of the role the country plays in preserving heritage sites, Russia’s Permanent Representative to UNESCO, Ambassador Alexander Kuznetsov, told TASS on Friday.

"Being elected to the World Heritage Committee is of course an important event for us. It is rather difficult to be elected there due to a strong competition," Kuznetsov explained. As many as 110 states voted for Russia, he stressed. "This testifies to international recognition of Russia’s role as an active participant in cooperation in the protection of world heritage sites," he added.

"But we realize that our position will change significantly in the capacity of a full member of the committee," the ambassador pointed out. Russia will now have to "deal with all issues, including nominations, reports on the state of preservation of objects belonging to foreign states" instead of just dealing with its own monuments, he stressed. Over a hundred such issues are discussed at each session, Kuznetsov added.

"The pressure on our delegation will grow manifold. We won’t do without a highly-qualified team of experts that is now being formed in Russia," he went on to say.

Meeting on Palmyra

Work to involve organizations in more active participation in the restoration of Syrian monuments damaged by terrorists has been in the past few years a traditional and important trajectory of Russia’s activity in UNESCO on issues of world heritage, Kuznetsov stressed.

"Now, this work begins to pay off. In particular, an expert meeting on Palmyra will take place in Paris, at the UNESCO headquarters, in December. This is a monument that terrorists caused much damage to," the Russian ambassador explained. "We hope that this meeting, in which Russian experts will take part, will give a new impetus to the activity on restoring Syrian monuments. And of course we will be developing this topic at a next session, due in China (on June 29-July 9, 2020 - TASS)," the Russian diplomat went on to say.