On the 20th and 21st of January, ICCROM-ATHAR and Louvre-Lens co-organized the “Post-Conflict Reconstruction of Historic Cities Colloquium” successfully at the Louvre in Lens, France. The event concluded after two days of intense presentations and discussions on various theoretical and practical matters relating to post-conflict reconstruction.
At the end of the first day, the world-renowned experts discussed the legal, social, economic and political impacts, analytically, of actions in past post-conflict reconstruction projects. Before the post-conflict reconstruction of a historic city the experts agreed that it is important to undertake the necessary evaluation studies to address questions such as: How to plan and improve prevention? What awareness and information tools (inventories, surveys, legal tools, etc.) can improve the level of protection? How to ensure a good knowledge of the legal framework prevailing in the field for future interventions? During the post-conflict reconstruction phase of a historic town, the following questions were raised: How to effectively involve the different local actors? How to ensure effective coordination among all stakeholders? What are the tools to be developed in this direction?
The aim is to have a global vision and sustainably implement reconstruction projects.
The second day focused on the role and activities of donors and development agencies in the financing of post-conflict reconstruction projects. The post-conflict reconstruction of historic cities must therefore be effectively co-operated at all levels, between donors, local and national authorities, concerned associations, field professionals and local communities directly or indirectly interested. It was concluded then that decision-makers should place cultural heritage in its social, economic, political and environmental context (integrated heritage management), and that any future peace agreement should address the issue of post-conflict preservation and reconstruction of cultural heritage in the future. This would provide a legal basis for all post-conflict reconstruction projects, and demonstrate the clear political will of the international community to address the “cultural after-effects” of armed conflict.
Lastly, development assistance should no longer be limited to traditional areas of development cooperation and should gradually encompass the field of cultural heritage protection. Several development agencies and especially non-governmental organizations are already working in this direction.
At the end of the colloquium, the following concrete short term actions have been agreed upon for the short term by the respective representatives of various international organizations such as ALECSO, UNESCO, ICOMOS, ICRCICA, AGTK, OECD, and the World Bank.
- Publish and distribute the proceedings of the workshop,
- Draft and share a document for donors and development agencies that summarizes expectations,
- Develop documentation tools for fieldwork which take into account good practices and are effective and rapid.
The colloquium’s program can be found here.