ATHENS – “Global cultural heritage is today facing a challenge that we have to consider how we will cope with. We must consider what our vision is for the next 50 years, how we will deal with the threats and how we react to those that, unfortunately, we know all too well,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Thursday in Delphi, during his address to the international conference “The Next 50: The Future of World Heritage in Challenging Times, Enhancing Resilience and Sustainability”.
Mitsotakis warned of the dangers threatening world heritage, including those from natural phenomena, such as the destructive fires that destroyed a part of the region’s ancient olive groves.
“It is known that kings came here to Delphi to get oracles, which did not give clear answers,” he said, stressing that protection of world heritage in the future needs to be combined with the protection of nature. He noted that for the first time and on a global basis, new institutions were being created that served as the foundation of new organisations and processes that collect knowhow on preserving heritage.
Noting that Greece has 18 protected World Heritage monuments, Mitsotakis said that the convention helped chart the dangers on both a local and regional level, as well as the skills needed for protecting monuments, while referring to the necessity of addressing the problems created by the climate crisis, with policies such as a dedicated ministry or a transition to renewable energy.
Another danger, according to the prime minister, was “excessive tourism” that placed too much stress on monuments, saying it was important to highlight alternative options for visitors. He emphasised that it was important to not shy away from difficult decisions regarding the protection of monuments, since short-term gains were not as important as long-term sustainability and their protection.
PM: government seeks to reply with actions that concern all
In statements made earlier while visiting Amfissa, Mitsotakis said the government was “always striving to reply to the toxicity of recent days and weeks with works and actions that concern all the citizens.”
“I think that should be the message of the current day,” he added, referring to the 49th anniversary of the November 17 student uprising of 1973, which he said was a “celebration of unity” as the young people of that time joined in the struggle for democracy and freedom.
“Today, when the country faces major problems but also great opportunities we do not deserve a new division,” he added, saying his own attention was always focused on dealing with the real problems faced by citizens, citing a draft bill on pensions being tabled in parliament on Thursday, or the ‘household basket’ measure as examples.
According to Mitsotakis, these were the issue that will determine the results of the elections in 2023 and, until that time, the government will continue to strive to meet its pre-election pledges and to deal with challenges from abroad.
“None of the crises the country had to handle in recent years was caused by us. We are converting crises into opportunities, however, supporting the weakest of our fellow citizens, our policy has a strong social stamp,” he added.