From: Alice Taylor
EU and UNOPS Launches Project to Rehabilitate Albanian Cultural Sites Damaged During Earthquake

The European Union Delegation to Albania has announced the EUR 40 million EU for Culture programme that will see the rehabilitation of Albanian cultural heritage sites damaged by the 26 November earthquake.

Ambassador Luigi Soreca signed on behalf of the EU along with the UNOPS Director of the Vienna Multi-Country Group Freya Von Groote, in the presence of Prime Minister Edi Rama, Minister of Reconstruction Arben Ahmetaj, and Minister of Cutlure Elva Margariti.

The programme will remediate the immediate impact ot the earthquake on cultural sites and monuments through reconstruction, rehabilitation, and valorisation. It’s hoped that the project will aid the countries socio-economic recovery by improving Albania’s potential as a tourist destination.

In terms of which monuments and sites will be focussed on, a consultation and thorough assessment will take place involving all stakeholders from government and cultural the heritage community.

Three municipalities will be main beneficiaries of the funds which are also among some of the country’s key tourist destinations- Tirana, Durres, and Kruja. Thee programme with nurture socio-economi development and will involve local communities through grants. They will also provide support to local Abanian institutions and all works will adhere to international and EU standards.

On the occasion of the signing ceremony, EU Ambassador to Albania Luigi Soreca said: “EU4Culture is one of the largest ever cultural heritage programmes designed by the European Union in terms of the number of monuments and of funds involved. Helping preserve Albania’s heritage is an economic chance, a common responsibility, but also a moral and historical duty towards previous and future generations of Europeans.

EU4Culture will be implemented by the United Nations Office for Project Services.

Under-Secretary-General and UNOPS Executive Director Grete Faremo said: “The EU4Culture initiative offers a major opportunity to revitalise the cultural heritage sector in Albania, for the benefit of present and future generations. UNOPS is proud to support it, working closely with the Albanian government and local stakeholders. This marks another step forward in the strong partnership between UNOPS and the European Union across the region. Together, we can build a better future for all.”