4 minute read

EU4CULTURE, ONE OF THE LARGEST CULTURAL HERITAGE PROGRAMMES BY THE EU

Next Article

KAENG PHANAENG

BY RUDINA HOXHA

As UNOPS has set to work at full swing in Albania, Pamela Lama, UNOPS Albania Country Manager, shares with TRAILBLAZING MAGAZINE what is expected to be completed in a near and long term future and what challenges are ahead of her.

In particular, EU4Culture, to be implemented under UNOPS in close cooperation with the Ministry of Culture, is deemed considerably important by Mrs. Lama stressing that 43 sites have been evaluated and 27 were found to be eligible for intervention under the programme. They are all located in areas affected by the earthquake, primarily in the districts of Tirana, Durres, Lezha.

Full interview below:

Last September, the new EU4Culture programme was signed between the EU Ambassador to Albania Luigi Soreca and UNOPS Director of Vienna MultiCountry Office Freya von Groote. Please tell us shortly about UNOPS work in the country and share with us the main pillars of the EU4Culture Programme.

UNOPS is the United Nations (UN) infrastructure and procurement specialists. We also provide other services including project management, financial management and human resources. In Albania, we work with our partners on a range of projects. This includes the EU4Culture project as well as our support to the government of Albania on the COVID-19 response efforts. UNOPS works closely with the UN Country

“We also provide other services including project management, financial management and human resources.

Kruja Ethnographic Museum

Kruja Ethnographic Museum

team on sustainable development actively contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework 2022-2026 with the Albanian government.

The EU4Culture project is funded by the European Union (EU) and is being implemented by UNOPS, in close partnership with the Ministry of Culture, with a total budget of € 40 million. Its goal is to restore the cultural heritage sites damaged by the November 2019 earthquake. In addition to the restoration, the project will invest in the revitalization of the sites, which will contribute to Albania’s socio-economic recovery by improving its tourism potential. It will also provide technical support to Albanian institutions through international and EU standards and expertise and offer grants to help local communities.

Kruja Ethnographic Museum

Kruja Ethnographic Museum

UNOPS Country Manager Albania, Mrs. Pamela Lama

UNOPS Country Manager Albania, Mrs. Pamela Lama

Can you describe briefly how the Euro40 m fund will be used? Who is eligible for it?

A thorough evaluation has been done, analysing many elements, both the construction conditions and site value, along with the economic benefits it will bring to the community. In cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and the National Institute of Cultural Heritage, 43 sites have been evaluated and 27 were found to be eligible for intervention under the programme. They are all located in areas affected by the earthquake, primarily in the districts of Tirana, Durres, Lezha. The first group of sites where work started or will start soon are the National Historic Museum, The National Puppet Theatre, The Venetian Tower in Durrës, The Ethnographic Museum of Kruja, The Ethnographic Museum of Kavaja, The Lezha Castle, Kurcaj Bridge, The Monastic Church of Rubik, The St. Antony Church of Rodon.

During Europe Week 2021, you visited many cultural objects such as Venetian Tower in Durres, the iconic Church in Rubik, the Ethnographic Museums of Kavaja and Kruja, the Tirana Puppet Theatre, the Mosaic of the National History Museum and many others. What are the imminent interventions expected from EU4Culture?

We are working with cultural heritage specialists, craftspeople, public and private entities, and we see this exchange as a direct contribution to both our learning and also to that one of our partners. On the other hand, given the substantial and systematic planned interventions, the complex contracts management, the heavy infrastructure and project management components, UNOPS’ experience and expertise in delivering efficiently is an important advantage.

Observing  the Mosaic of The National Historic Museum, one of the sites where the works will be starting soon.

Observing the Mosaic of The National Historic Museum, one of the sites where the works will be starting soon.

Almost all project sites will undergo several intervention phases, starting from the restoration and conservation of the fabric, interpretation, cultural heritage management and business planning and disaster risk management. In close partnership with the Ministry of Culture, we shall be working to develop new models of sustainable and responsible heritage utilization which is contributing towards local and national economic development.

How important is it to raise awareness about the importance of EU4Culture project? In your opinion, what is the importance of communicating and sharing views about cultural heritage?

EU4Culture is one of the largest ever cultural heritage programmes designed by the EU. We share the EU and the government of Albania’s vision for a future that respects and preserves its past. Protecting history allows more people to learn and share the story of that culture. The value of this extends far beyond cultural heritage and can allow local communities to take advantage of the economic benefits too.

For more information on UNOPS and the EU4Culture project, please visit:

https://www.unops.org/; https://www. facebook.com/eu4culturealbania.