Understand our past to collectively shape Europe’s future and its role in confronting the global issues of the COVID-19 Pandemic
This relates to SDG 11 – 11.4 to strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage. But also SDG 14 Life Below Water and Life on Land from the perspective of sustainability and biodiversity.
How do we define Culture?
UNESCO definition of cultural heritage
The term cultural heritage encompasses several main categories of heritage:
- Cultural heritage
- Tangible cultural heritage:
- movable cultural heritage (paintings, sculptures, coins, manuscripts)
- immovable cultural heritage (monuments, archaeological sites, and so on)
- underwater cultural heritage (shipwrecks, underwater ruins, and cities)
- Intangible cultural heritage: oral traditions, performing arts, rituals
- Natural heritage: natural sites with cultural aspects such as cultural landscapes, physical, biological or geological formations
- Heritage in the event of armed conflict
Cultural Heritage in Europe
More than 400 of the 1,121 UNESCO World Heritage Sites are located in Europe. The EU constitutes only 7% of the world’s population, 20% of global GDP almost 40% of global public spending on social protection. The principles of Europe’s ‘Social Model’ were laid down in the Treaty of the European Community. Of the 117 UN and Bretton Wood’s Institutions globally, 71 are located in Europe, of which 40 are in EU Member States and includes the International Court of Justice. A European, jointly with a Canadian, drafted the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. Europe is second largest contributor to the United Nations System, the World’s largest provider of development aid and was a major actor in shaping the Sustainable Development Goals and the principle driver of the Climate Change Agenda.
Cultural heritage from a humanism, tolerance, and democracy perspective
The European Parliament’s report argued that the road to creating a European Historical Memory requires a critical ‘culture of remembering’ to be developed. European history has overemphasized the dimension of the atrocities of two world wars, especially World War II, as the overriding rationale for creating the EU, the so-called world’s largest peace project. This approach is problematic in yet another respect since it reduces European history to a matter of the post-First- World-War period. Historical complexity is hence unduly reduced, obscuring broader (inter-)relations essential in the understanding of contemporary Europe, one that has evolved on the foundation of European core values such as humanism, tolerance, and democracy.
It is also these values of humanism, tolerance, and democracy that have to be drawn upon in this particular moment of COVID-19, building solidarity within the many European sub-cultures and cultures to join with humanity through the globe to debate common solutions. Primarily, the Millennium and Gen-Z generations and draw upon and expand upon the existing youth partnerships of those involved in this initiative.
Cultural Heritage in other regions
Movable cultural heritage
(paintings, sculptures, coins, manuscripts)
Immovable cultural heritage
Underwater cultural heritage
Intangible cultural heritage
oral traditions, performing arts, rituals
Heritage in the event of armed conflict
How Storytelling relates to cultural heritage