UNESCO body meets to take action to protect Haiti’s cultural heritage

7 July 2010

An international committee backed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is meeting in Paris to decide what steps to take to protect Haiti’s cultural heritage, much of which was seriously damaged by January’s devastating earthquake.

An international committee backed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is meeting in Paris to decide what steps to take to protect Haiti’s cultural heritage, much of which was seriously damaged by January’s devastating earthquake.

More than 200,000 people were killed in the magnitude-7.0 earthquake, which left 1.3 million more homeless and destroyed countless buildings, including Government facilities, hospitals and schools.

In addition, the quake severely damaged many of Haiti’s cultural infrastructure, affecting all historic buildings in the capital, Port-au-Prince, including the Cathedral, the National Palace and the Palace of Justice.

Among the towns also suffering extensive damage was Jacmel, in the southeast, which was founded in the late 17th century and is on Haiti’s tentative list of sites to be put forward for consideration for inscription on UNESCO’s World Heritage List .

Chaired by the Caribbean nation’s Minister of Culture Marie-Laurence Jocelyn-Lasseque, the International Coordination Committee (ICC) was set up by UNESCO to support Haitian authorities restore their country’s cultural heritage.

During its first meeting, the Committee will identify priorities for the reconstruction of buildings, natural sites and damaged historic urban centres. It will also discuss how to restore museums, art galleries, archives and libraries.

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