Mr. Paolo Fontani, Director of UNESCO Iraq, met with the Minister of Culture, Mr. Abdulameer Al-Hamdani, Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Mr. Hamid Ahmad, representatives from the EU, Department of Antiquities of Mosul and Basra and the Sunni Waqf to discuss the ongoing UNESCO projects in Iraq.
Mr Fontani presented the work that UNESCO has been doing in Mosul including rubble removal and demining of the Al Nuri Mosque, stabilization measures and documentation and preservation of architectural remains. He emphasized that UNESCO is looking for a broader consensus among the local population and authorities regarding the future reconstruction model of the Mosque and Minaret.
Moreover, during the meeting, the plan of operation for the EU funded project Reviving Mosul and Basra old cities was agreed. The European Union has committed 20 million Euros to promote social cohesion and preserve cultural heritage in Iraq through the restoration and reconstruction of historic urban landscapes in the old cities of Mosul and Basra. The project will be implemented within the framework of the Revive the Spirit of Mosul flagship initiative launched by UNESCO in February 2018. In addition to the rehabilitation of the old cities of Mosul and Basra, the project will focus on skills development and job creation to promote social cohesion and community reconciliation as well as on the revival of the cultural life by promoting books and literature, art and artists and cultural events. UNESCO will work closely with civil society and local communities, the Iraqi national and local authorities, notably the Ministry of Culture, the religious endowments offices, the Governorates of Nineveh and Basra on implementing various activities.
UNESCO will work closely with Iraqi authorities on the selection of historical houses in the city of Basra and Mosul that will be reconstructed in order to preserve Iraq’s unique cultural heritage.