Published: 2019-07-21 16:14
Last Updated: 2019-07-21 16:14
The European Union (EU), UNESCO and key partners gathered to honor the partnership and collaborations forged around the "Support to livelihoods through cultural heritage development" project. The project focuses on creating short-term decent job opportunities through employment-intensive methods applied to safeguard cultural heritage in the northern districts of Jordan and Iraq.
The project will be coordinated by the UNESCO Amman office and implemented in partnership with the ILO, the UNESCO Iraq office and key partners over the next two years. The project will be supported by the EU Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian crisis, the EU ’Madad’ Fund, an innovative tool initiated in 2014 in response to the Syria crisis. The EU ‘Madad’ Fund acts as a key instrument to deliver the EU’s pledges, address resilience and stabilization needs and support refugees and host communities in Jordan, Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon, and Egypt.
Graciously hosted by H.E Mrs. Majd Shweikeh, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, the ceremony was attended by H.E Andrea Matteo Fontana, EU Ambassador to Jordan, H.E. Dara Al- Yaqoobi, Deputy Minister and Head of the High Commission for Erbil Citadel Revitalization (HCECR) - Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Mr Abdel Razzaq Arabiyat, Managing Director of the Jordan Tourism Board, Mr Yazin Al Ayan, Acting Director-General of the Department of Antiquities, Mr. Augusto Piccagli, Head of EU Cooperation for Yemen and Iraq, Ms. Costanza Farina, UNESCO Representative to Jordan, Mr. Brendan Cassar, representing UNESCO Iraq Office, and supportive partners.
H.E. Shweikeh emphasized the importance of turning challenges to tourism into concrete opportunities. "Sustainable tourism is a key objective of this upcoming initiative. Our collective presence here today, as we gather to honor this partnership, signifies our ongoing collaboration, with a strong focus on continuity, sustainability and action."
H.E Ambassador Fontana stated, "This project aims to improve self-reliance through access to decent employment opportunities for Syrians, Jordanians and Iraqis in the cultural heritage sector, through Employment Intensive schemes in two northern governorates of Jordan and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). It also aims to create an enabling environment for entrepreneurship development in the cultural heritage sector, unleashing its potential to boost the economy and create jobs."
On behalf of UNESCO, Ms. Farina shared, "This major EU investment celebrates UNESCO’s innovative approach to optimize cultural heritage rehabilitation as a vehicle to create job opportunities for unemployed youth. This substantiates the notion that culture can serve as a source of resilience and a vector for socio-economic development. We are extremely grateful and honored by this partnership and the trust bestowed upon UNESCO and its partners. We are also very grateful to the Department of Antiquities for the strong and longstanding collaboration on this and other cultural heritage initiatives."
Mr. Dara al Yaqoobi, Deputy Minister and Head of the High Commission for Erbil Citadel Revitalization was also in attendance, sharing enthusiasm surrounding the robust partnerships that will serve to ensure strong outcomes.
In line with governmental priorities, the EU-Funded project will seek to engage both Jordanian and Iraqi experts as well as Syrians, and young people, in their respective communities in the preservation and safeguarding of cultural heritage sites for tourism purposes in the northern districts of Jordan (Irbid and Mafraq) and Iraq (Erbil, Duhok). A Steering committee co-coordinated by UNESCO will provide strategic guidance and will further support this work, in partnership with relevant institutions including the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Institut Francais du Proche-Orient (IFPO) and the German Protestant Institute of Archaeology (GPIA), who were also in attendance.
At the close of the ceremony, H.E. the Minister presented H.E. the EU Ambassador with a plaque, plaque as a gesture of appreciation. The Minister recognized the EU Ambassador’s longstanding efforts and impactful engagement in the field of sustainable tourism and cultural heritage in Jordan. The EU has been an enduring strategic partner of UNESCO, providing generous funding and expertise to a host of projects focused on education, freedom of expression and enhancing resilience.
UNESCO is the United Nations educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization. It seeks to build peace through international cooperation in Education, the Sciences and Culture. UNESCO's programmes contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals defined in the 2030 Agenda, adopted by the UN General Assembly. UNESCO exists to bring collective intelligence to life, mobilizing education, culture, the sciences and information to build sustainable solutions to global challenges. UNESCO’s mission in Jordan is to work with the government of Jordan and other stakeholders to provide effective high quality educational, scientific, cultural and communication programmes.