The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) vowed on Sunday to protect the worlds cultural values and heritages against the increasing threat of terrorism and wars more than ever.
"We must stand together for unity, for humanity as a single community," Irina Bokova, UNESCOs director general, said at the opening ceremony of the 40th session of the World Heritage Committee in Istanbul.
Bokova noted that the committees meeting will be an important message to the world confronting with extremists who are targeting human rights and cultural diversity.
"It is also an important message when we see extremists seeking to divide communities, manipulating the culture to fuel xenophobia and fear," she added.
Turkeys Prime Minister Binali Yildirim called on the UNESCO and the international community to take a bigger responsibility in passing the worlds heritages to the next generations.
"The world needs the UNESCO more than ever as the wars in many places around the globe destroy historical, natural and cultural values," the premier said in a video message.
The participants emphasized the importance of promoting the creation of art objects around the world while paying respect to ethnic and cultural diversities as an answer to terrorism and wars.
At its 11-day session, the World Heritage Committee will discuss ways to prevent terrorists from smuggling and destroying cultural relics around the globe.
Since 2014, the Islamic State group has been deliberately destroying cultural heritages in Syria, Iraq and Libya, targeting various places of worship and historical artifacts.
The illegal trafficking in cultural relics in the region via Turkey is on the rise as well.
Turkeys Ministry of Culture and Tourism has prepared an emergency red list that includes the images of Syrias historical artifacts with a view to preventing their illegal trafficking via Turkey.
At its Istanbul session, the heritage committee will also review the nominations of 29 new sites to the prestigious World Heritage List, including nine natural, 16 cultural and four mixed ones.
In addition, 156 sites already on the list and those on the List of World Heritage in Danger will be subjected to the committees examination.
As of now, the World Heritage List has 1,031 sites in more than 160 countries.
Some 2,000 people from around the world are participating in the annual session of the heritage committee, which was formed in 1977 to enforce the World Heritage Convention and manage the heritage list created based on the convention.
Source: Antara News