Josep Borrell, Vice President of the European Commission, visits UNESCO works in Erbil

Mr. Josep Borrell, was welcomed by Junaid Sorosh-Wali, Chief of Culture, UNESCO Iraq, Nihad Khoja, Head of the High Commission for Erbil Citadel Revitalization (HCECR), Omed Khoshnaw, Governor of Erbil, the Mayor of Erbil and the Site Manager of the World Heritage site of Erbil Citadel. He toured the Citadel and witnessed firsthand the progress that has taken place on site within the UNESCO project “Support to Livelihoods through Cultural Heritage Development” funded by the European Union through the EU Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian crisis, the EU Madad Fund, and implemented in partnership with HCECR and ILO.


During his tour, he was provided with details about Erbil Citadel, a 32m-high tell, made from layers of civilizations stretching back to the fifth millennium BC, topped by a layer of 19th-century late Ottoman architecture and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2014, and some of the challenges the site is facing and how the ongoing EU support can address them.


Work for the project has begun on the Erbil Citadel World Heritage Property, starting with site preparation, preventive consolidation of historic building, removal of debris, roof clearing of heritage buildings, fire hazard reduction, waste management, preparing the site for future easy access for the renovation of groups of heritage buildings, maintenance and operationalization of the Interpretation and Visitors’ Center, restoration of northern ramp and lower fences and upcoming development project for the central alley. The project aims to generate employment opportunities and to contribute to the sustainable development of the World Heritage property, using Culture as driver for socio-economic development, social cohesion, resilience and self-reliance through creation of jobs, while engaging with IDPs, refugees and the local community in Erbil.

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