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PR 06/20 | Shared Cultures, Shared Heritage, Shared Responsibility

Verżjoni bil-Malti

The 18th April marks the International Day for Monuments and Sites. The theme chosen for this year’s celebration is “Shared Cultures, Shared Heritage, Shared Responsibility”, recognising that heritage – whether places, landscapes, practices, or collections – are frequently connected with and valued by multiple and diverse groups and communities. This year, as the world goes through the current crisis caused by COVID-19, we are called to celebrate and think about the relationships between cultures or cultural groups and their collective responsibility for the care and safeguarding of the significant attributes, meanings, and values of heritage.

It was, in fact, exactly two years ago that 22 organisations active in the field of cultural heritiage came together to express their shared concern for the manner in which the indiscriminate demolition of our built and other cultural assets was resulting in a general impoverishment of our urban areas.

These entities jointly signed a Declaration titled “Our Legacy – Wirtna”, which had one fundamental message: that the way we treat our heritage is the legacy we leave for future generations.

Two years ago we reminded Government of the Declaration of Principles of the Constitution of Malta which stipulates that “the State shall safeguard the landscape and the historical and artistic patrimony of the Nation”, and put forward 11 demands for Government to implement. To date, none of these demands have been met.

Last September, hundreds of people crowded the streets of Valletta chanting “Enough is Enough!” Enough to planning policies that do not respect citizens. Enough to authorities that do not plan properly and do not respect the environment. Enough to large-scale construction projects, road construction works and lack of transportation planning. Enough to low air quality and lack of preservation of biodiversity. Enough to a construction industry which is allowed to operate in an unregulated manner.

These calls were not dissimilar to those made by the 22 organisations two years ago. The concern is, in fact, a shared concern – that our culture and our heritage are being disregarded, and that economic interests are far too often given the upper hand.

We have a shared responsibility to safeguard our culture and our heritage. The Kamra tal-Periti and its fellow signatories of “Our Legacy – Wirtna” are fully committed to make sure this happens. Is Government equally committed?

Declaration

Read the Declaration signed by 22 organisations

 

 

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PR 06/18 | Our Legacy / Wirtna – Meeting with Partit Demokratiku

On the 18th April 2018, 22 entities active in the field of cultural heritage signed a Declaration calling for the preservation of our built heritage. The Declaration, titled “Our Legacy – Wirtna” presented the fundamental message that the manner in which we treat our heritage is the legacy we leave for future generations.

Given the significant role of the political class in upholding the principles outlined in the Declaration, meetings are being held with the political parties. The first such meeting took place on the 31st May 2018, when representatives of the Kamra tal-Periti, Din l-Art Ħelwa, Flimkien Għal Ambjent Aħjar and The Archaeological Society Malta met with Dr Anthony Buttigieg and Timothy Alden, Leader and Deputy Leader respectively of Partit Demokratiku.

A number of issues were discussed including the unsatisfactory performance of the Planning Authority and the Environment and Resources Authority, as well as the severe lack of resources of the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage and the weak legislation that governs it.

The representatives of Partit Demokratiku confirmed their agreement with the statements made in the Declaration and pledged the Party’s support by offering to act as a vehicle to communicate the message of “Our Legacy – Wirtna” through its elected MPs Dr Marlene Farrugia and Dr Godfrey Farrugia.

For further information visit: https://www.facebook.com/SafeguardingHeritageTogether/

Right to Left: Dr Anthony Buttigieg (Leader, Partit Demokratiku); Timothy Alden (Deputy Leader, Partit Demokratiku); Maria Grazia Cassar (Executive President, Din l-Art Ħelwa); Perit Tara Cassar (Flimkien Għal Ambjent Aħjar); Dr Petra Caruana Dingli (Din l-Art Ħelwa); Prof Alex Torpiano (Kamra tal-Periti).

Left to right: Dr Anthony Buttigieg (Leader, Partit Demokratiku); Timothy Alden (Deputy Leader, Partit Demokratiku); Patricia Camilleri (President, The Archaeological Society Malta); Prof Alex Torpiano (Kamra tal-Periti); Dr Petra Caruana Dingli (Din l-Art Ħelwa); Perit Tara Cassar (Flimkien Għal Ambjent Aħjar).

 

 

KTP writes to Minister Bonnici re SCH

The Kamra tal-Periti has written to Minister Owen Bonnici regarding his parliamentary speech on the budget estimates of the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage. In its letter, the Kamra has acknowledged that the statistics indicating an increase in the volume of planning applications processed by the SCH has increased from 1,099 in 2015 to 5,412 in 2016.

The Kamra pointed out, however, that the statement was “misleading in that the increase is a result of the new legislation which requires the SCH to assess each and every application for development permission, irrespective of its  impact on cultural heritage matters. Prior to the demerger, the SCH only had to deal with those applications that posed a clear and direct threat to our heritage, whereas now it has to assess even the most trivial of applications, thus impacting heavily on its workload.”

The letter states that while the Kamra agrees that in a country as small as ours, many types of development may impact on our village cores and architectural and cultural heritage, we are now in a situation where the SCH is overloaded with applications to assess, to the extent that it is failing to keep up even with those applications that should fall within its direct remit.

The Kamra insisted that the SCH should be given sufficient resources to fulfill its remit and deal with “the immense workload it is faced with on a daily basis”, pointing out that the MEPA demerger has effectively weakened the SCH rather than strengthen it.

KTP offered to meet with Minister Bonnici to discuss the matter in greater depth so that the problems afflicting the SCH may be urgently addressed.

 

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