Ancient Civilizations Forum
Second Ministerial Meeting
La Paz, 13 July 2018
The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Plurinational State of Bolivia Fernando Huanacuni Mamani, of the Hellenic Republic Nikos Kotzias; Representative of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the People's Republic of China, Yu Qun; Deputy Minister of the Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia, Ashot Hovakimian, Viceminister for Education and Scientific Research of the Republic of Iran, Seyed Mohammad Kazem Sajjadpour; Representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Peru, Javier Leon; Representative of the Republic of Iraq, Arshad Omar Esmaeel; Representative of the Republic of Egypt, Amin Mourad Meleika; Representative of the Italian Republic, Placido Vigo, gathered for the second ministerial meeting of the Ancient Civilizations Forum, “Ancient Cultures in the Present” held in La Paz, Plurinational State of Bolivia, as part of Tiwanaku Civilization, which stands today as a bridge that links us with ancestral wisdom and values.
1. Giving continuity to the Athens Declaration, as an outcome of the Ancient Civilizations Forum, held the 24 of April, 2017, we reaffirm the ancient heritage and wisdom of our ancient civilizations, which, in spite of time, remain vivid and relevant in today’s globalized world.
2. Recalling the purpose of the Declaration of establishing a permanent platform for dialogue and cultural cooperation; where dialogue constitutes a tool to define strategies to protect and promote our historical and cultural heritage and thus learning from our own history and the legacy of our ancient civilizations, and reaffirming the importance of its objectives in the light of rapid and complex challenges that the world is facing such as terrorism, radicalization, extremism, violence, racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and other forms of related intolerance.
3. Underlining the need to work together, as appropriate, to safeguard the historical and cultural heritage of the ACF members, on the basis of the principles of sovereignty, dignity, complementarity, solidarity and harmony, with a view to providing living well and prosperity; with full respect to the cultural diversity and specificity of the Member States of the Forum.
4. Emphasizing that ancient civilizations are in many cases living cultures and their cosmovision and wisdom can be a source for solving multiple contemporary challenges such as financial, economic, environmental, migratory, food, among others, and that it is necessary to remain inspired by our ancient civilizational models that value life, peace, tolerance, coexistence, development and harmony between human beings and nature.
5. Recognizing the importance of promoting, developing and disseminating the knowledge and understanding of ancient cultures and civilizations, to contribute to global knowledge, to equitable development and to the promotion of pluriculturalism and cultural diversity, with full respect for the sovereignty of States and their contribution to world culture.
6. Recognizing the importance attached to the return of cultural property that is of fundamental spiritual, historical, developmental and cultural value to countries of origin, so that they may constitute original collections representative of their cultural heritage; and expressing our deep concern about the continuing illicit traffic in cultural property and its damage to the cultural heritage of nations, while recalling the paramount importance of enhanced international cooperation in the restitution of illicitly trafficked cultural proprieties.
7. Taking note of the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 71/178, which proclaims the year 2019 the International Year of Indigenous Languages to draw attention to the critical loss of indigenous languages and the urgent need to preserve, revitalize and promote these languages.
To provide a mandate for the establishment of a permanent platform of dialogue and cultural cooperation with the aim to:
- Promote historical research with special emphasis on the value and contribution of great ancient civilizations to the course of mankind, with a view of restoring their proper place in the predominant narratives;
- Intensify efforts for the achievement of the objectives of the 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property;
- Promote the achievement of the objectives of the Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Restitution in case of Appropriation, including through providing support for countries negotiating for the legitimate right of return or restitution of their cultural property;
- Generate platforms for dialogue and exchange of views between academics and prominent personalities of the Member States of the Forum;
- Foster dialogue and cultural exchange in: music, dance, legends, myths, tales and sociocultural practices and rituals among indigenous peoples, civil society and Member States of the Ancient Civilizations Forum;
- Establish procedures to incorporate prospective new Member States to the Forum of Ancient Civilizations;
- Taking advantage of existing dialogue mechanisms to identify best practices in the promotion, protection and preservation of our peoples' heritage and cultural rights at local and national levels;
- Identify possible obstacles in the promotion and protection of cultural rights, and submiting collectively, proposals for action in relevant bodies;
- Undertake activities related to the Forum and promoting the participation of other States, as observer in the first instance, subject to prior consensus;
- Reaffirm the commitment for the protection of the cultural, philosophical, scientific and architectural heritage of our civilizations, promoting their diffusion and conservation through academic fora;
- Highlight the vitality of our cultures and their current relevance; and
- Promote the recognition and visibility of ancient civilizations and cultures which strengthen dialogue among peoples in a multicultural world.
8. To encourage communication among participating States and other stakeholders regarding cultural exchanges and cooperation in all related fields.
9. To conduct dialogue and consultations with a view to reaching coordinated positions where appropriate, on issues of major importance relating to the protection of cultural heritage, within the relevant international organizations, such as UNESCO.
10. To examine the most appropriate ways to improve the Forum's efforts to optimize the use of culture as an effective tool for contemporary diplomacy.
11. In the framework of concrete cooperation and following the results of the First Ministerial Meeting of the Forum of Ancient Civilizations in Athens, in order to gain better understanding of technical projects in the fields of culture and tourism, the Second Ministerial Meeting to encourages to the Academic Forum of 21 September 2018 to conduct a study and prepare a report to be presented to the next Ministerial Meeting.
12. The Ministerial Meeting to mandate the Permanent Delegations of the Forum’s Member States to UNESCO and other official channels with a coordination role concerning the activities of the Forum and the relevant national authorities.
13. To work together, as appropriate, and in coordination with UNESCO, in order to safeguard the historical and cultural heritage of the members of the Forum.
14. To welcome the Republic of Armenia as a full- fledged member of the Forum.
15. That China would give a positive consideration of hosting the next Ministerial Meeting of the Forum. Further details would be negotiated through diplomatic channels.
Athens, 24 Arpil 2017
The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, H.E. Mr Wang Yi, of the Arab Republic of Egypt, H.E. Mr Sameh Shoukry, of the Hellenic Republic, H.E. Mr Nikos Kotzias, of the Islamic Republic of Iran, H.E. Dr Mohammad Javad Zarif, of the Republic of Iraq, Η.Ε. Μr Ibrahim AL-Eshaiker AL-Jaafari, of the Italian Republic, H.E. Mr Angelino Alfano, the Minister of Culture of the Republic of Peru, H.E. Mr Salvador Alejandro Jorge del Solar and the Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, Dr Guadalupe Palomeque de la Cruz,
Referring to the heritage of the great ancient civilisations of the states they represent and the international resonance of each individual culture,
Underlining that, transcending time, the impact of these civilisations is omnipresent and remains actual to this day, decisively influencing the course of humanity,
Regarding richness and diversity of cultures as the great heritage of mankind, and as an essential accumulative contribution that continuously enriches the collective human civilisation, both historically and at the present day,
Bearing in mind that civilisations throughout the course of humanity have not ceased to interact and communicate,
Supporting the Olympic Ideal, the idea of Olympic Truce, as well as sportsmanship and fair play, as means for promoting communication, friendship and mutual understanding,
Taking into consideration the rapidly changing and complex challenges that the world is facing, such as terrorism, radicalization, extremism, violence, racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and other forms of related intolerance,
Strongly advocating friendly relations and continuous dialogue between countries, and the need for international cooperation and understanding as a means to address cultural, social, economic and political challenges,
Stressing that each State bears the primary responsibility of providing protection for its cultural heritage, while underlining the positive contribution of international cooperation with the State concerned upon its request and based on its relevant priorities, including through UNESCO and the other relevant United Nations specialised agencies, programmes and funds,
Deploring the fact that armed conflicts have become both a serious threat to the integrity of world heritage monuments and the cause of illicit trafficking in cultural property deriving from armed conflict areas,
Devoted to prevent and counter any future destruction of archeological sites and cultural heritage in general caused by terrorist acts,
Highlighting the need for further cooperation in fighting against and preventing effectively illicit trafficking in cultural property and ensuring their restitution and safe return to their countries of origin,
Recalling the relevant UN Security Council and UN General Assembly Resolutions on the protection and safeguard of the cultural heritage and property as well as the relevant Resolutions of the UNESCO General Conference,
Reaffirming their strong support for UNESCO’s primary role in promoting the protection and preservation of cultural heritage,
Recognizing civilisation and cultural diplomacy as a soft and smart power, and as a major component of international relations, and agreeing that culture can and must be further deployed as an agent of economic growth.
The need to enhance the dialogue among civilisations through continuous communication and cooperation, in order to promote understanding, recognition and tolerance between cultures and peoples.
The importance of using the dialogue among civilisations as a powerful tool of diplomacy, thus contributing to bridging gaps and enhancing mutual understanding.
Advancing the Belt and Road Initiative for international cooperation, among others, will play an important role to promote civilisational dialogues and increase people-to-people bonds.
Their will to strengthen cooperation on cultural issues among the participating States, with a view to enhancing the sustainable social and economic growth of each ACF member.
To establish the Ancient Civilisations Forum (ACForum) with the participation of the following countries: Bolivia, China, Egypt, Greece, Iran, Iraq, Italy, and Peru, as a platform for dialogue and cultural cooperation among the participating States. The Forum shall be open to future enlargement on a consensual basis.
To encourage communication among participating States regarding cultural exchanges and cooperation in all related fields.
To conduct dialogue and consultations with a view to reaching coordinated positions where appropriate, on issues of major importance relating to the protection of cultural heritage, within the relevant international organizations, such as UNESCO.
To examine the most appropriate ways to enhance the ACForum’s efforts to optimize the use of culture as an effective tool for contemporary diplomacy.
To work together, as appropriate, and in coordination with UNESCO, in order to safeguard the historical and cultural heritage of the ACF members.
The participating States agreed that a Ministerial Meeting of the ACForum will be organized on an annual basis. The Chairmanship of the annual Ministerial Meeting will rotate among participating States.
The next Ministerial Meeting will be held in 2018 in Bolivia. Peru expressed its readiness to host the annual Meeting in 2020 and Iraq in 2021.