With regard to the current status of the candidacy of Crete’s Minoan Palaces for UNESCO inclusion, Greece’s Culture Minister’s assurances are questioned by Heraklion MP, Nikos Igoumenidis regarding progress.
Responding recently to the question of Heraklion’s MP Nikos Igoumenidis of the SYRIZA political party, the Minister of Culture Lina Mendoni now departs from her original answer given to the MP and especially as to when the relevant dossier is planned to be submitted.
Sitting before Parliament, the minister referred to a specific schedule, stating precisely that “within the next year and a half – unfortunately it can not be done earlier – the Central and Regional Archaeological Service will be able to submit the candidacy file.”
However, this statement is in stark contrast to the first answer she gave to the MP from Heraklion in November 2019, as she avoids clarifying the timetable, although the same question is asked directly and again.
Without specifying exactly, she further states that:
“With regard to the project schedule, it is pointed out that the preparation of a candidacy dossier, in general, is a very demanding process, which is subject to a series of predetermined and strict conditions as them are defined by the competent bodies and also advisory bodies of the International Convention”.
Furthermore, it is also noted in the response of the Minister that: “the preparation of a realistic timetable for the completion of the candidacy dossier of the Minoan Palaces of Crete, is directly dependent on the start of implementation of the program contract and other supporting projects.”
Although the Minister describes in detail what happened during the period when SYRIZA was Government, acknowledging that SYRIZA started the process for the candidacy of the Minoan palaces, she indirectly blamed the previous Government for delays. Minister Mindoni also admits,
“In 2017, the necessary actions for the preparation of the candidacy dossier began, through the conclusion of an agreement for cultural development with the Region of Crete. In February 2018, the Region approved credit for the execution of the sub-project “Financial support to the preparation of the application file of the Minoan palaces for them to be inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List”, in the framework of the project “CRETE GREEN DEVELOPMENT.”
Implemented by the Directorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities. The above Agreement was signed on April 24, 2019 “, says Lina Mendoni.
In essence, from the answer to Nikos Igoumenidis it becomes known that “the Ministry of Culture and Sports sent to the Region of Crete a plan to amend the Programmatic Convention for Cultural Development. This amendment refers to the project “Support for the preparation of the application file of the Minoan palaces for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List”.
Of particular interest are the 3 stages as indicated for the preparation of the application file. In the 1 st Stage, there is a detailed and complete scientific documentation of the monuments, the recording of the history of the operations, the search and re-evaluation of any studies that have been prepared in the past but have not been implemented, as well as the recording and understanding of a series of parameters that affect monuments, in a positive or negative way.
In the 2nd Stage, there is the preparation of the Management Plan. This plan, in accordance with the requirements of the Convention, will create the framework for integrated management of monuments, introducing a strategic plan setting priorities, goals, and timetables and fully covering all aspects of their management. While in the 3rd Stage belongs to the synthesis of all the above and the compilation of the final text of the dossier that will utilize all the data that have been collected.
Taking into account the specific answer of the Minister, the MP of Heraklion Nikos Igoumenidis stressed that “we are particularly concerned when the Ministry stops committing itself to clear timetables and deadlines for such an issue, and starts blaming the previous Government which happens to have completed the file of another monument, that of Spinalonga, and paved the way for the first time for the Minoan Palaces of Crete.
The Ministry must be more careful in what it publicly states. This is such an important issue for our Cultural Heritage. However, we must say that the Region of Crete is working steadily and constructively for a complete dossier”. In addition, the MP reiterated that
“In any case, the completeness of the dossier is paramount, ie critical parameters are to be met, including the outstanding universal value of the cultural property, the insurance of the monument’s authenticity, the clear demarcation of the monument and the protection zone and lastly, the existence and the implementation of an integrated management plan”.
Source: The Press Office of Dr. Nikos Igoumenidis