25 February 2022
Dear members of the OWHC,
As President of the OWHC, I must express my deep concerns about the developing military situation in Ukraine which is a direct attack against democracy, international rules of law and freedom. In those unacceptable circumstances, I wish to reiterate the strong commitment of the OWHC toward all its member cities and its values, which form the core of our solidarity network.
War is making a dramatic pressure which can lead to the complete or partial destruction of cities, and with them of societies, and that is an intolerable prospect impoverishing the values and heritage of humankind.
As defined in its charter, the OWHC is committed to sustain sincere support for peace by fostering cooperation and solidarity between nations. It is our strong belief that it is particularly in the cities, where human populations are concentrated, that the cultural traits of peoples are expressed. Our living communities, our common heritage and the universal values recognized especially in World Heritage Cities must be protected, preserved, and cherished according to international treaties.
In full support to the UNESCO statement related to the situation in Ukraine, the OWHC calls upon responsible authorities to restrain the attacks and avoid harming innocent civilians and all aspects of their culture and identity, including built and immaterial heritage.
As a community of historic cities, today, the OWHC stands united with the people of Ukraine. I invite OWHC members to consider all possible assistance to the city of Lviv, the Ukrainian World Heritage cities and historic cities, and all citizens of this wounded country. Let’s spare no effort in offering tangible support and efficient help to Ukrainians in this time of peril, as our contribution to the world’s peace, development and successful future of our cities.