Thursday 10 September 2020 – Marie-Laure Lavenir, Peter Keller, and Valéry Freland, the General Directors of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), the International Council of Museums (ICOM), and the International alliance for the protection of cultural heritage in conflict areas (ALIPH) respectively, are conducting a joint mission to Beirut from 14-16 September. They will meet with the Director General of Antiquities of Lebanon (DGA) and members of the cultural heritage community to listen to their needs following the 4 August blast, and to set up concrete partnerships and projects with local actors to contribute to the rehabilitation of Beirut’s cultural heritage.
This mission follows the “Statement of solidarity with Lebanon and support to recover the damaged cultural heritage in Beirut” that was spearheaded by ALIPH and signed by ICOM, ICOMOS and thirty other major cultural heritage organizations and institutions globally. Under the terms of this text, the signatories pledge “to do all that we can to contribute to the complete recovery of the heritage that has been damaged in Beirut.”
Immediately after the explosion, ICOM put in place its emergency disaster risk management protocol, and visited Beirut to survey the damage sustained by local museums and identify their most urgent needs, in close cooperation with ICOMOS, ALIPH and Blue Shield International.
Concurrently, ICOMOS Lebanon, together with the Alumni of the Centre for Restoration and Conservation of the Lebanese University (Faculty of Fine Arts and Architecture), assisted the DGA to establish an inventory of all the damaged historic districts and monuments by collecting archives and documentation, as well as identifying and assessing the damage with the aim of implementing a general rescue plan.
ALIPH, at the same time, released an initial envelope of 5 million USD to contribute to the stabilization and rehabilitation of the damaged cultural heritage. Included in the first projects is restoration work at the National Museum of Beirut, in partnership with the Louvre Museum and the DGA, and emergency relief for some twenty cultural heritage entities in cooperation with the Prince Claus Fund and the Lebanese Committee of the Blue Shield.
ICOMOS, ICOM and ALIPH wish to strengthen their contribution to the efforts of the Lebanese people and the international community. ICOM and ICOMOS are bringing their extensive expertise to assist local organizations with concrete measures to first stabilize and then rehabilitate the museums and historic sites, and ALIPH will finance concrete projects.