The Director-General discusses with the UN Secretary-General the destruction of cultural heritage in Iraq and informs him about UNESCO’s response

6 March 2015 - The Director-General met with UN Secretary General, H.E. Mr Ban Ki-moon, at UN Headquarters to discuss the recent events on the destruction of cultural heritage in Iraq. In follow-up to milestone UN Security Council resolution 2199, which condemns the destruction of cultural heritage and adopts legally binding measures to counter illicit trafficking of cultural objects from Iraq and Syria, the Director-General informed the UN Secretary-General about UNESCO’s action in convening a broad coalition of partners to develop a strong system-wide response for the resolution’s effective implementation.

Underlining her consultations with the President of the UN Security Council, H.E. Mr François Delattre, other members of the UN Security Council, and key partners such as the UN Office of Drugs and Crime, Interpol, and the Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee, the Director-General informed the UN Secretary-General about the upcoming meeting she will convene at Paris Headquarters in April to lay out the elements of a coordinated initiative.   

In the wake of ongoing destructions, the Director-General underlined the critical role of religious leaders in denouncing the events that are occurring. As part of the Organization’s efforts to mobilize a broad partnership for the effective protection of cultural heritage, UNESCO is furthermore reaching out to Iraqi youth, appealing to them to claim heritage as their own as a key step towards future reconciliation and recovery.  

The UN Secretary-General expressed his full support for UNESCO’s action.