Director General of UNESCO Audrey Azoulay arrived in Ukraine for a visit

Director General of UNESCO Audrey Azoulay arrived in Kyiv on a working visit. The Head of UNESCO will also visit Chernihiv and Odesa.

Audrey Azoulay has already visited the National Conservation Area “Sofia of Kyiv” and talked with First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska, Minister of Culture and Information Policy Oleksandr Tkachenko and First Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Emine Dzhaparova.

Olena Zelenska expressed gratitude to Audrey Azoulay for supporting Ukraine in resisting russian aggression, in particular for the positive decision of the World Heritage Committee to inscribe the Historic Center of Odesa on the List of World Heritage in Danger (January 25, 2023).

“This decision, made during the full-scale war in Ukraine, when our historical and cultural heritage is one of the strategic goals for the aggressor country, will make it possible to protect the cultural heritage of Odesa and preserve it from the russian invaders, who have repeatedly directed their missiles at the city.” – said First Lady of Ukraine.

Olena Zelenska also welcomed the unblocking of the work of the World Heritage Committee and that russia no longer chairs UNESCO. The 45th session of the Committee will be held this year in Saudi Arabia in September.

The Minister of Culture and Information Policy also thanked the Director General for her visit, as, in his opinion, it is very crucial that she can see with her own eyes what is happening in Ukraine.

“The visit of our foreign partners is a contribution to our stable relations and further support. Because, seeing our culture, which continues to live and develop despite the war on the one hand, and the scale of losses and destruction on the other, it is impossible to remain indifferent. There is still a lot of work ahead, and we hope for further support from UNESCO, since the losses of Ukraine’s cultural sphere because of the war already amount to 7 billion euros,” Oleksandr Tkachenko said.

 In addition, the Minister said that in the nearest future there is the preparation of a nomination dossier for the inscription of cultural landscape of the city of Chernihiv on the UNESCO World Heritage List in Danger (working title: “Cultural landscape of medieval and modern Chernihiv with historical building complexes”).

In her turn, Audrey Azoulay noted that she knows how important culture is for Ukrainian identity.

“I know how much Ukrainians have made to protect themselves, to protect their culture and heritage. And we want to be on their side. For our side, we also monitor the destruction of objects, in particular, in culture. And this is very important for their restoration in future. We have already provided very significant assistance and it will increase in the nearest future,” Audrey Azoulay said.

She also noted that UNESCO will continue to mobilize international support, including expertise, to support Ukraine.

“The visit of the Director-General is a strong signal of support and solidarity for Ukraine during the war. The year 2022 was a turning point in the history of our bilateral relations. It was Odesa (the nomination dossier has been successfully considered by the World Heritage Committee), the borscht dossier (has also been positively considered by UNESCO), etc. We are also happy to say that we have decided to submit our candidacy to the Executive Board for the period 2025-2029 and we hope that our partners will support us,” said Emine Dzhaparova, First Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Head of the National Commission of Ukraine for UNESCO, during the meeting.

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