COMUS final publication, June 2017

COMUS final publication
COMUS final publication, June 2017

On-going efforts towards sustainable development require sound and innovative perspectives on human rights and democratic governance, beyond solely economic concerns. With the consideration of heritage as a social, economic and political resource, it is essential to develop a new way of looking at heritage, by setting the ground to reframe relations between all involved stakeholders. An enhanced definition of heritage and a new approach to heritage governance present challenges for countries, particularly those in transition that are of concern to the European Neighbourhood Instrument – Eastern Partnership Programme. The European Union and Council of Europe Joint Project Community-Led Urban Strategies in Historic Towns – COMUS, implemented by the Council of Europe in partnership with the Organization of World Heritage Cities between January 2015 and June 2017, presents a sound model for countries in transition, including Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.

The Council of Europe has been working in the area of culture and heritage with countries involved in COMUS bilaterally and regionally for over a decade. Multilateral co-operation has been developing since 2007 in the framework of the “Kyiv Initiative Regional Programme”.

The primary aim of the Council of Europe is to create a common democratic and legal area throughout its 47 member states, ensuring respect for its fundamental values: human rights, democracy and the rule of law. The Council of Europe’s pan- European reach allows constructive dialogue with member states and generates political leverage. The Council of Europe’s legal instruments and soft- monitoring tools serve as valuable benchmarks for the European Union in the context of its cultural and other related sectorial policies, enlargement and integration of new members, reconciliation and neighbourhood cooperation objectives.

Political objectives and assistance to countries have been implemented through community-led and place-based approaches in reference to fundamental European conventions, in particular the 1985 Granada Convention for the Protection of the Architectural Heritage of Europe, the revised 1992 Valletta Convention on the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage, the 2000 European Landscape Convention and the 2005 Faro Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society.

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