The blue helmets of culture: making heritage a tool for peace, starting from its management structures

D’Amico, Gabriele (2018) The blue helmets of culture: making heritage a tool for peace, starting from its management structures. In: ICOMOS 19th General Assembly and Scientific Symposium "Heritage and Democracy", 13-14th December 2017, New Delhi, India. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract (in English)

From official political speeches to widespread references in the international press, the “Blue Helmets of Culture” are presented as an on-going initiative. What the Blue Helmets of Culture actually refer to is an ongoing negotiation on the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding signed on the 16th of February 2016 between the Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, and the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Paolo Gentiloni. The Blue Helmets of Culture, or more precisely the Italian National Task Force, are expected to work within the framework of UNESCO’s Global Coalition Unite4Heritage. While the actual content of the activities of the Task Force (and its functioning) are to be agreed on, the literature on the topic is scarce, sources are fragmented and most often prove contradictory. Having spent the last 9 months conducting direct interviews with the main actors involved in this ongoing negotiation, in this paper I will present the first overall analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of this initiative. While taking into consideration the various fields in which the Task Force could be asked to intervene, the paper will underline how this initiative could indeed develop into a unique asset to transform heritage into a tool of cultural negotiation and socio-economic conflict management; to be used not only in armed conflict or in the aftermath of natural disasters, but also when heritage is jeopardised by the conflicts emerging among different stakeholders. The paper will conclude that the outstanding potential of the Blue Helmets resides in the role that the category 2 UNESCO Centre on the Economics of Culture and World Heritage Studies (which is part of the overall initiative, with a special agreement involving the City of Torino) will play un embedding participatory human rights-based mechanisms within the management structures of heritage sites.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
D’Amico, Gabriele
Languages: English
Keywords: conflict management; cultural negotiation; Memorandum of Understanding; international organizations; UNESCO Centre on the Economics of Culture and World Heritage Studies; human rights; rights-based approach; management of cultural heritage; Heritage at Risk; community participation
Subjects: E. CONSERVATION AND RESTORATION > 11. Legal protection and Administration
G. DETERIORATION > 05. Prevention of deterioration
M. WORLD HERITAGE CONVENTION > 07. Management plan
Name of monument, town, site, museum: Italian National Task Force; Global Coalition Unite4Heritage; UNESCO; Blue Helmets of Culture
National Committee: ICOMOS International
ICOMOS Special Collection: Scientific Symposium (ICOMOS General Assemblies)
ICOMOS Special Collection Volume: 19th General Assembly, New Delhi, 2017
Depositing User: intern icomos
Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2018 13:05
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 10:38
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