Council joins call to move UNESCO meeting from Russia

By Midsomer Norton & Radstock   |   Editor   |
Tuesday 8th March 2022 4:09 pm

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Bath & North East Somerset Council has joined calls for a UNESCO World Heritage Committee meeting to be moved from host nation Russia.

UNESCO, the body which oversees heritage sites including Bath, is due to hold its annual World Heritage Committee in Kazan from 19th-30th June.

Councillor Kevin Guy, Council leader, said today: "It is clear that such a meeting in Russia at this time is both inappropriate and impractical. Our cultural heritage has the power to promote international understanding and co-operation, and this sector should play its part in promoting peace.

“We have written today to Nigel Huddlestone, MP, Secretary of State for Sport, Tourism, Heritage and Civil Society adding our support to the UK Government’s call on UNESCO to move the committee. UNESCO must announce that the meeting is moved to a safe location.”

State parties including the UK have announced they will boycott a Russian event, but UNESCO has yet to announce any change of plans. As one of only a handful of double-inscribed World Heritage Sites worldwide, the City of Bath has a keen interest in this international network.

Like many Councils B&NES has also been in discussions with the Local Government Association (LGA) and the Cabinet Office regarding guidance on Russian controlled companies within the supply chain.

The Council is expecting further LGA guidance as well as a Cabinet Office Procurement Policy Note (PPN) on the issue. The guidance will pay particular attention to the complexities of the gas and energy market which is affecting many public sector organisations, including schools.

The Council does not have any contracts with any Russian state-owned companies such as Gazprom and the Council will undertake a further review once the guidance is received.

The Council also welcomes Avon Pension Fund’s decision to prohibit any new investments in Russian assets and further disinvest from all Russian-controlled and Russian-owned assets, bonds and equities.

Councillor Guy added: “The worsening humanitarian crisis created by Russia’s horrifying invasion of Ukraine means we must continue to support aid agencies and we encourage donations to established organisations such as the British Red Cross and UNICEF and the Disasters Emergency Committee.

“We have already stated our readiness to resettle refugees via the Government’s Humanitarian sponsorship route and want to remind people to get in touch if they can offer self-contained accommodation with a private entrance and its own bathroom and kitchen facilities.”

People can email: [email protected] and the Council will keep offers on file for when requests start to come in.

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