Beirut – The Italian Task Force “Unite for Heritage”, specialized in the protection of cultural heritage in emergencies worldwide, arrived two days ago in Beirut. The availability of the Task Force has been offered by the Italian Minister of Culture, Dario Franceschini to his homologue, caretaker Minister Mortada, in order to contribute to the preservation of the Lebanese cultural heritage and the socio-cultural identity of the areas damaged by the explosions.
The mission of the Italian Task Force is scheduled until 19 October. The delegation is composed of a civilian component of the Italian Ministry of Culture, and a military component of the Italian Carabinieri, Command for the protection of cultural heritage. Its members are architects and restorers, specialized in the rehabilitation and conservation of both architectural and mobile heritage. Their mission, carried out in close cooperation with the Directorate General for Antiquities of the Ministry of Culture, the Embassy of Italy and the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, entails institutional meetings, as well as field visits to the neighborhoods most affected by the explosions at the port.
The goals of the Italian Task Force are to produce an independent assessment of the state of damage and conservation of the Lebanese cultural heritage, in order to contribute to the efforts of the Directorate General for Antiquities to this end; to identify the area where an Italian project of restoration and rehabilitation will be undertaken; and to establish a partnership between the Italian Carabinieri and the Lebanese Authorities to counter the illicit trafficking of stolen cultural heritage.
Upon the arrival of the Task Force in Beirut, the Ambassador of Italy, Nicoletta Bombardiere declared: “The mission of the Task Force ‘Unite for Heritage’ of the Italian Ministry of Culture represents another important element of the response deployed by the Italian Government to the consequences of the explosions at the port of Beirut. Adding onto our contributions in the health and education sectors, in rubble removal, in CBRN safety, in the humanitarian field, Italy is deploying its best expertise in the protection of historical heritage, to contribute to the rehabilitation of the damaged neighborhoods, preserving the cultural and social fabric of the areas affected and supporting the Lebanese population”.
The Italian Minister of Culture, Dario Franceschini commented: “The mission to Beirut of the Italian ‘Blue Helmets of Culture’, recently deployed in Albania after the earthquake of 26 November 2019, confirms the capacity of the Italian Task Force to swiftly respond to the challenges posed by the ever-growing emergencies to the protection of cultural heritage. The Carabinieri of the Command for the protection of cultural heritage, together with the restoration experts of the Italian Ministry of Culture, in partnership with UNESCO, will support the Lebanese Authorities in securing the damaged heritage, engaging competences and professional capacities renowned worldwide. With this mission, Italy’s commitment for the protection of the global heritage continues”. -- Embassy