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CM/Cong(2009)Rec195 final 28 January 2009
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“Reconciling heritage and modernity” –
Recommendation 195 (2006) of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe
(Reply adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 21 January 2009 at the 1046th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies)

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1. The Committee of Ministers took note with interest of Recommendation 195 (2006) of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe on “Reconciling heritage and modernity”, which emphasises the importance of giving consideration in the years ahead to the need to reconcile heritage and modernity, particularly in the field of tourist development.

2. The Committee of Ministers acknowledges the importance of the promotion of a policy of sustainable development which is capable of reconciling protection of the European cultural and natural heritage with social and economic requirements. This is the approach that it advocated in Recommendation Rec(2001)1 on the Guiding principles for sustainable spatial development of the European continent, and in Recommendation CM/Rec(2008)3 on the guidelines for the implementation of the European Landscape Convention.

3. The preservation and enhancement of the European cultural and natural heritage are central to the responsibilities of the Steering Committee for Heritage and Landscape (CDPATEP) set up by the Committee of Ministers in January 2008 and to which it communicated the recommendation for comments. The terms of reference of this committee focus on follow-up to conventions on architectural and archaeological heritage and on landscape as well as, after its entry into force, to the Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society (CETS No. 199). The CDPATEP also deals with the contribution of the cultural heritage to the creation of democratic society, on the development of principles and methods for the sustainable development of local cultural and landscape resources, on the promotion of integrated sustainable spatial development policies through the pooling of information and good practice at European level, and on consideration of the social impact of the cultural heritage and its citizenship role. The CDPATEP’s future activities should thus cover a good number of the concerns and suggestions expressed by the Congress, as can be seen from the comments expressed by that committee (see appendix to the present reply).

4. Referring to these comments, the Committee of Ministers notes that among the specific proposals put forward by the Congress, the idea of a “European Heritage Grant” has retained the CDPATEP’s attention. The Committee of Ministers considers that such a project could be developed and funded by local authorities or cities particularly interested in architectural and artistic creation, in co-operation with civil society.

5. In addition, several current activities already contribute to the fulfilment of the objectives identified by the Congress. For instance, the continuation in 2008 of the European Heritage Days (EHD) programme, a joint activity of the Council of Europe and European Union raised the profile of Europe’s heritage sites and encouraged the appreciation and enjoyment of them. The 2009 stage of this programme could put particular emphasis on the question of the relationship between contemporary architecture or other creative activity and heritage. Furthermore, the introduction of instruments and partnerships to raise public awareness and promote cultural tourism is now, in accordance with the new regulations in force, among the conditions to be met by the Council of Europe's cultural routes. Finally, some major regional programmes, including the Kyiv Initiative and the Regional Programme on Cultural and Natural Heritage of South-East Europe, are being carried out via a transverse approach, with a view to sustainable development.

Appendix to the reply

Comments by the Bureau of the Steering Committee for Heritage and Landscape (CDPATEP)

“The CDPATEP has examined the text of Recommendation 195 (2006) of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe and the reply being prepared at the present stage by the Committee of Ministers, as presented to the Rapporteur Group on Education, Culture, Youth and Environment (GR-C) at its meeting on 10 September 2008.

The CDPATEP shares the overall viewpoint embodied in this reply and adds the following comments:

In the perception of heritage developed by the Council of Europe from the outset of the intergovernmental co operation undertaken in this field, the emphasis is on continuity and connection between heritage and current creative activity. Article 17.4 of the Convention for the Protection of the Architectural Heritage of Europe (Granada, 1985) provides that the parties undertake to promote “architectural creation as our age's contribution to the European heritage”. Likewise, Article 8.d of the recent Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society refers to the promotion of an “objective of quality in contemporary additions to the environment without endangering its cultural values”.

At present the relationship between new building and heritage is a matter of concern frequently highlighted by countries in the context of the European Heritage Days (EHD). For 2009 it is expected to constitute the theme that sustains co-ordination of the EHD, a joint undertaking of the Council of Europe and the European Union. There are several levels of concern: new building which may compromise a historic setting, making modern works of art a fixture or a temporary feature in groups of historic buildings, organising live performances within architectural entities, as well as an extensive range of cultural creations in public areas, not forgetting the place of image creators in building an audiovisual and digital heritage.

The CDPATEP’s terms of reference are consistent with the prospects envisaged by the Congress for reconciling heritage and modernity. This will be a topic of the publication in preparation on heritage values for society, shedding light on the meaning of the Faro Framework Convention in the process of ratification by states. It could also appear on the agenda of a future conference of ministers or at a very high level on heritage issues in the present development of society.

Regarding certain specific proposals of the Congress, the CDPATEP is not convinced that a European label “Heritage and Future” would be appropriate considering that there are already other heritage labelling schemes. On the other hand, the idea of a “European Heritage Grant”, open to future architects and European town planners, would be of greater interest given that quality of vocational training remains a precondition for quality of operations on the ground. The question of finance for an experiment of this kind nevertheless remains pending, as the resources of intergovernmental co-operation are limited at present. Following the lead of the Congress proposal, it would be highly worthwhile to look into the feasibility of introducing a system of grants with funding from local authorities or cities directly concerned by architectural creation. In that event, CDPATEP assistance could consist in facilitating contacts and mustering expertise capable of supporting such action.”


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