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Black Tie International: Prince Claus Fund & World Monuments Fund

Prince Claus Fund & World Monuments Fund


Prince Claus Fund and
World Monuments Fund

Launch $1 Million Cultural Heritage

Emergency Response Program with Projects in Four Countries


Dedicated to preserving sites threatened by disaster,

program begins work on four initial projects, located in Bhutan, Haiti, Indonesia, and Pakistan



Amsterdam/New York City, December 8, 2010 . . . The Prince Claus Fund (PCF) and World Monuments Fund (WMF) today announced that work has begun on the four projects that have been identified as the initial focus of the collaborative PCF/WMF Cultural Heritage Emergency Response program. The partnership, which addresses the recovery of monuments and important sites in the wake of natural and man-made disasters, underscores the profound impact of such disasters on cultural sites and the critical role of heritage preservation in the recovery of affected communities. The program provides emergency assistance--both financial and practical--where it is most needed, and draws attention to the plight of communities and their heritage in the aftermath of catastrophe.

The primary focus of the partnership is on sites in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Each organization has made an initial commitment to contribute $500,000 to the program over a three-year period, for a total of $1 million. To date, the partnership has identified projects in Bhutan, Haiti, Indonesia, and Pakistan.

Bonnie Burnham, president, World Monuments Fund, states, "From the Venice flood of 1966 to the earthquake in Abruzzo last year, WMF--like the Prince Claus Fund--has responded when major structures have been damaged by disaster. The new PCF/WMF partnership will strengthen these efforts while supplementing other emergency-response work undertaken by both organizations."

Els van der Plas, director, Prince Claus Fund, adds, "Cultural heritage is too often neglected after a disaster has struck a society. By joining forces, the Prince Claus Fund and the World Monuments Fund hope to help rectify this, conveying the message that culture is a basic need--along with food, water, and medicine--and to engage other organizations in supporting solutions for saving cultural heritage at risk."


Inaugural Projects

·        Bhutan

On September 21, 2009, an earthquake in eastern Bhutan left a trail of devastation throughout the region, damaging or destroying more than 4,500 houses and 600 temples. Efforts will focus on two ancient monasteries that were severely damaged by the quake: the 16th-century Dramatse Lhakhang and the 12th-century Trashigang Dzong, which is one of 20 iconic dzongs, or fortresses, in the country.


·        Haiti

Just a few months after the Gingerbread Houses of Port-au-Prince were selected for inclusion in the 2010 WMF World Monuments Watch, a devastating earthquake struck Haiti and brought international attention to the conditions of millions of Haitians affected by the tragedy. The remarkable houses, with their decorative ornament and steep, pitched roofs, reflect a time of prosperity and creativity at the turn of the 20th century, and they have been given high priority by the government in the post-earthquake rebuilding. In 2010, WMF and PCF sponsored a mission to Haiti to assess community conditions and counsel local authorities and property owners on alternatives to demolition of these historic structures. WMF and PCF plan to sponsor a second phase, which will provide technical assistance for the conservation and repair of the houses, as well as training and workshops for local owners and contractors.


·        Indonesia

Program funding will support the rehabilitation of the historic city of Padang, in West Sumatra, where on September 30, 2009, an earthquake took the lives of at least 1,100 people, razed infrastructure, and damaged more than 200 irreplaceable monuments. Funds are being provided for the restoration of the 17th-century Lubuak Bareh Mosque and the 1903 Gothic Revival St. Leo Monastery. A manual on post-earthquake reconstruction and rehabilitation will also be developed for use by owners of heritage buildings in the region.


·        Pakistan

The Diamer-Basha Dam Area petroglyphs constitute a vast landscape of 50,000 rock carvings and 5,000 inscriptions dating from the 10th millennium b.c. to the 16th century a.d. These petroglyphs--standing testament to the ancient cultures that once settled in this region and the merchants, pilgrims, and conquerors who later journeyed through it--came to international attention thanks to their inclusion on the 2010 Watch. Before long, many of them will be submerged as a result of a new dam that will be constructed. The PCF/WMF-sponsored Cultural Heritage Emergency Response project will use and augment existing documentation of the site to create an emergency action-plan for the entire cultural landscape.


Prince Claus Fund

The Prince Claus Fund is a platform for intercultural exchange. It works jointly with individuals and organizations located primarily in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean to realize activities and publications that contribute to positive exchange between culture and development. The Fund works in the spirit of Prince Claus' belief that one cannot develop people, but people develop themselves. The Fund is supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Dutch Postcode Lottery:  www.princeclausfund.org

Through itsCultural Emergency Response (CER) program,the Prince Claus Fundprovides "first aid" for cultural heritage that has been damaged or destroyed by manmade or natural disasters. The CER program was launched in 2003 in reaction to the looting of the National Museum of Baghdad, which shocked the world. Since then, it has provided aid to over 80 cases of cultural heritage in emergency situations in more than 40 countries across the globe.


World Monuments Fund

World Monuments Fund is the leading independent organization devoted to saving the world's most treasured places. For 45 years, working in more than 90 countries, WMF's highly skilled experts have applied proven and effective techniques to preserve important architectural and cultural-heritage sites around the globe. Through partnerships with local communities, funders, and governments, WMF inspires an enduring commitment to stewardship for future generations. Headquartered in New York, WMF has offices and affiliates worldwide: www.wmf.org

Through its biennial World Monuments Watch, WMF has drawn the world's attention to a diversity of heritage sites that are facing neglect, demolition, and catastrophe, and that illuminate current issues in the field of international heritage preservation. One of WMF's core program areas focuses on disaster recovery, enabling the organization to respond quickly and decisively to natural and man-made disasters by assessing damage, undertaking emergency conservation, and assisting with long-term recovery plans.


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