In Lebanon, just like all over the world, UNESCO is convinced that no development can be sustainable without a strong culture component. Indeed only a human-centred approach to development based on mutual respect and open dialogue among cultures can lead to lasting, inclusive and equitable results.
Through its divers programme in Lebanon, UNESCO Office in Beirut focuses particularly on placing culture in the heart of social reconciliation and sustainable development.
With the aim to ensure that culture takes it rightful place in development strategies and processes, UNESCO Office in Beirut is supporting the Lebanese government through a three-pronged approach:
It spearheads advocacy for culture and development,
It engages with the local community to set clear policies and legal frameworks,and
It works on the ground to support the government and local stakeholders to safeguard heritage, strengthen creative industries and encourage cultural pluralism.
As the only UN agency specifically mandated with the responsibility for safeguarding the world’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, UNESCO has a critical role to play in Syria.
Since March 2011, Syria’s exceptional cultural richness has suffered as a result of the on-going conflict. Many of its important monuments, including those on the UNESCO World Heritage List, have been severely damaged due to the conflict, many museums and archaeological sites have been looted by organized groups intent on illicitly exporting rare artefacts to be sold on the international art market. There has also been a rupture in the practice and transmission of Syria's intangible heritage.
As a result of the alarming situation of Syria's cultural heritage, UNESCO has actively mobilized its partners and the international community to raise awareness on the situation, and assist Syria in protecting all forms of its heritage, be it built, movable or intangible.