Protecting cultural heritage and diversity

ECOPER has conducted the external evaluation of the UNESCO project ‘Protecting Cultural Heritage and Diversity in Complex Emergencies for Stability and Peace.’ The project aimed to reduce the vulnerability of populations whose culture and heritage is targeted or affected in complex emergency situations, with interventions in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen. During the evaluation ECOPER conducted interviews with stakeholders in beneficiary countries. The core ECOPER team was supported by an archaeologist with experience in evaluating damage to archaeological sites and a regional expert in development project management and evaluation.

Funded by the EU Instrument Contributing to Peace and Stability (ICSP), the evaluated project came about following exchanges between the EU and UNESCO in 2015 after the destruction of the site of Palmyra during armed conflict affecting several countries in the MENA region. It was framed as an international response to the deliberate targeting of cultural symbols and identities, and in support of the preservation of cultural diversity as a means to longstanding peace. The project aimed to achieve its objectives through three overarching goals: providing technical assistance through UNESCO’s rapid response capacity to beneficiaries for the safeguarding of culture in complex emergencies; strengthening UNESCO’s capacity to support emergency action through culture, targeting in particular the forcibly displaced; and ensuring the emergency stabilization and protection of heritage at risk or affected by conflict.