UNESCO Safeguarding Project-I
UNESCO responds firmly to the challenges of rehabilitating Afghanistan’s endangered cultural heritage. The safeguarding of all aspect of cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible, including museums, monuments, archaeological sites, music, art and traditional crafts, is of particular significance in terms of strengthening cultural identity and a sense of national integrity.
Entrusted by the afghan government to coordinate all international efforts aiming to safeguard Afghanistan’s cultural heritage, the organization established an international coordination committee (ICC) in 2003. Chaired by the Afghan Minister of Information and Culture, it consists of afghan and international specialists. The aim is to raise funds and to issue concrete recommendations to allow the efficient coordination of actions to safeguard Afghanistan’s heritage to the highest international standards in key areas, such as the development of long term strategy, capacity building, the Implementation of the convention for the World Heritage and preventing the illicit traffic of cultural property, national inventories and documentation, as well the rehabilitation of the national museum, in Kabul and the safeguarding oh the sites of Jam, Herat m and Bamiyan.
Much discussion has taken place in Afghanistan and all over the world about the future of this site, revolving around the question of whether the two statues of Buddha should be reconstructed. The 107 participants at the First International Seminar on the Rehabilitation of Afghanistan Cultural Heritage, organized by UNENSCO in March 2001, as well as the ICC, clearly recognized that the first emergency priority is to stabilize the cliff face with its niches and caves. Noting that the decision whether to engage in the reconstruction of the Buddha statues is a matter to be settled by the government and people of Afghanistan, it was agreed that reconstruction is not a priority as long as humanitarian aid for the afghan people is urgently needed. Furthermore, it was emphasized that the authenticity, integrity and historical importance of this great site need to be memorialized in an appropriate way, and that reconstruction of the statues therefore requires further careful consideration.
The preservation of the Bamiyan site is one of the most important UNESCO projects in Afghanistan, for which more than $1.8 million have been generously donated by the government of Japan. The following activities have been undertaken within this project.