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"Memoria/Futuro: tecnologie per il patrimonio culturale"

12 November 2013
"Memoria/Futuro: tecnologie per il patrimonio culturale"

Opening remarks by Mr. Michael Møller
Acting Director-General, United Nations Office at Geneva
“Memoria/Futuro: tecnologie per il patrimonio culturale”

Palais des Nations, Salle des pas perdus
Tuesday, 12 November 2013 at 12:30 p.m.

Ambassador Serra
Professor Ferroni
Professor Mandò
Ladies and Gentlemen:

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Palais des Nations for the opening of this exhibition. Let me first of all express my appreciation to Ambassador Serra and the Permanent Mission of Italy for organizing this unique event and for highlighting the important relationship between science, technology and cultural heritage. I would also like to thank the Fondazione Rosselli and the Italian Institute for Nuclear Physics for their contributions to such a distinct and interactive exhibition.

As a frequent visitor to Italy and one-time resident, I have appreciated first-hand the country’s strong historical and cultural heritage. It is clear to me and everybody who go there that the protection of this heritage is a priority for Italy. Let us not forget that 49 UNESCO World Heritage sites are found in Italy.

From natural spaces and historic monuments to traditional practices and contemporary art, culture clearly has an indelible impact on humanity. It is an essential component of human development that represents a source of identity, innovation and creativity. Cultural heritage and creativity are key building blocks of vibrant, inventive and successful knowledge societies.

Despite its significance, however, cultural heritage around the world is at risk – primarily from conflicts and natural disasters, but also from pollution, tourism, climate change and other factors. There is an urgent need to protect these cultural heritage from these risks.

As we see in the exhibition, one important way to do so is through science and technology.
A greater knowledge of cultural heritage and the dangers to which it is exposed is developed through research, innovation and new technologies. Tools like the Internet and social media, for example, encourage communication across traditional borders, spread knowledge of cultural heritage and encourage creativity.

This exhibition is a visual and audio showcase of how science and technology can be used to preserve and advance that heritage. It is thanks to technology – and to this exhibition - that we can visit the Rome Opera House and hear world renowned opera singers. That we can experience the cultural relics and artwork found in the Baghdad Museum. That we can observe the earth from outer space. And that direct impact of air pollution on cultural heritage sites in European cities.

These advances are essential steps in preserving this heritage for current and future generations, and I very much welcome the opportunity to showcase them for the international community in Geneva.

Thank you very much.