Youth and local communities at the heart of the rebuilding of Mosul

Source:UNESCO   Date:2019-05-08

Baghdad, 2 May 2019 — The second Joint Steering Committee for the UNESCO project “Reviving the Spirit of Mosul by Rebuilding its Monumental Landmarks” was convened on Thursday 2 May 2019 in Baghdad at the Prime Minister’s Guest House, chaired by H.E Dr. Abdul Latif Al Heymem, President of the Sunni Religious Endowment of Iraq, in the presence of Ms. Salma Al Darmaki, representing the Ministry of Culture of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The meeting discussed strategies to ensure consultation and engagement of the local community and youth in the reconstruction process and the return of internally displaced persons to Mosul. A work-plan was presented drawing up plans for the coming years of the project. The following four years will focus on the restoration and historically faithful reconstruction of the Leaning Minaret, the Al-Nouri Mosque and adjacent buildings, as well as the Al Saa and Al Tahira Churches.

In his opening address, H.E. Dr. Al Heymem reiterated his gratitude to the UAE for their financial support and to UNESCO for deploying the technical expertise on the ground in Mosul to begin work on the reconstruction of the Al Nouri Mosque and Al Hadba Minaret, destroyed in 2017. “We are very pleased to see that work has begun to secure the monument, provide fencing, guards and establish offices on site for the reconstruction of the Mosque”, said H.E. Dr. Al Heymem.

In her opening address, Ms. Salma Al Darmaki, Assistant Undersecretary for Knowledge and Cultural Policies and representative of the Ministry of Culture of the UAE, expressed her support for the ongoing activities and the methodology for reconstruction presented by UNESCO. Ms. Al Darmaki said that “The UAE is proud to support such an important initiative which involves not only the reconstruction of a globally significant historical monument and religious site, but includes training and promotion of livelihoods for Moslawi’s who have endured much hardship during recent years”.

The Representative of UNESCO in Iraq, Mr. Paolo Fontani, said that “There is much work to be done. We have only just begun to take the first visible steps after the tragic destruction, but we are confident that under the leadership of the Iraqi authorities and the support of the community and of our generous partners we will be able to deliver on this great task”.

The Joint Steering Committee of the UNESCO-led project for the reconstruction of the Al Nouri Mosque and Al Hadba Minaret includes representatives of the Iraqi Ministry of Culture, UNESCO, UAE, of the Iraqi Sunni and Christian Endowments, of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and of the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) Regional Office in Sharjah.

The second meeting of the Joint Technical Committee was organized in Erbil on April 30th last. The Technical Committing which is comprising of the concerned technical Iraqi institutions, UNESCO, ICCROM-ATHAR and two international experts is tasked to advise on the management and coordination of the project. The Committee also identifies any points requiring attention, and any deviations in implementing the project’s work plan and proposes solutions.
A day prior the Technical Committee meeting, the international team also traveled to Mosul and visited project sites as well as other sites in the Old City of Mosul which are currently included in the restoration-rehabilitation plan of the Mosul Initiative in the field of cultural heritage.

This project, signed in 2018 between UAE and UNESCO, aims at the restoration and reconstruction of the historic landmarks of Mosul, notably the emblematic Al-Nouri Mosque, and its celebrated, leaning Al-Hadba Minaret, built more than 840 years ago. This project has been recently expanded to include two churches in the Old City of Mosul. Through rebuilding and restoration of cultural heritage in the Old City of Mosul, the project will contribute to job creation, the return of displaced Mowslawis, skills development and important steps towards reconciliation.

This iconic project is an important part of the UNESCO flagship initiative “Revive the Spirit of Mosul” which was announced by the Director-General of UNESCO at the International Conference on the Reconstruction of Iraq (Kuwait City) in February 2018. With the full support of the Government of Iraq and of the UN Secretary-General, UNESCO will coordinate international efforts in the restoration and rehabilitation of cultural heritage and the revival of cultural life and educational institutions.