To:

Mr. Florin Cîțu, Prime Minister of Romania
Mr. Bogdan Gheorghiu, Minister of Culture
Mr. Ludovic Orban, President of the National Liberal Party and of the Chamber of Deputies


WILL THE CÎȚU GOVERNMENT FAIL THE „ROȘIA MONTANĂ” TEST?


Dear Mr. Florin Cîțu,
Dear Mr. Bogdan Gheorghiu,
Dear Mr. Ludovic Orban,

Whereas

the World Heritage Committee will discuss and vote on July 24, 2021 upon the nomination of the Historical Mining Site Roșia Montană to be become a World Heritage site, following the recommendation for inscription received from the Committee’s advisory bodies,

Keeping in mind that

  • Roșia Montană has the largest number of legally protected historical monuments in a rural area in the country;

  • For more than 20 years, a large array of national and international professional organisations have unequivocally supported and promoted the preservation of this site, in recognition of its worldwide value and unique nature;

  • The civil society in Romania, joined by the Romanian diaspora in dozens of countries worldwide, has also acted firmly and consistently against the destruction of this site and in support of its protection and preservation to the benefit of the local community;

  • For over 20 years, Roșia Montană has been deprived of investments and local development strategies which would enable the community to prosper;

  • 30 governments have so far attempted to facilitate the approval of a disproportionate and illegal mining project to the benefit of a private company (including by means of a special law, which prompted the entire civil society’s mobilisation in 2013);

  • At the Washington, DC Court of Arbitration, the Romanian State’s position and defence is precisely that Gabriel Resources has not fulfilled its legal obligations, that it failed to secure the ”social license”, and that the UNESCO nomination does not impact the permitting of the mining project;

  • A site’s inscription on the World Heritage List is a catalyst for sustainable economic development, particularly cultural tourism-based, and a recognition which all Heritage Convention signatory states are striving to obtain and make use of;

  • It was precisely the Government led by the National Liberal Party which, through its minister of Culture, requested the UNESCO Committee in January 2020 to resume the World Heritage List inscription process,

And insisting upon that:

The withdrawal of the nomination, as defined in the UNESCO Operational Guidelines, will erase all efforts done in the past six years and that a potential subsequent request will be considered a new nomination and will require a new dossier and a new evaluation.

Such a scenario would only perpetuate the vulnerability, poverty and lack of opportunities suffered by the local community for the past 20 years. At the same time, it calls attention upon the Government’s commitments at national and international level in relation to the country’s cultural heritage,

we, the undersigned hereby publicly request that, without any delay nor damage to Roșia Montană (in the context of the upcoming UNESCO Committee session, as well as the Arbitration Court case), you keep both the commitments made in the Government Program (which promised “The transformation of Roșia Montană to a model of sustainable development based on cultural and natural heritage and civic involvement”; “The transfer of the Mining Museum from the Roșia Montană Mining Corporation to the Ministry of Culture, in view if establishing a Național Museum of Gold Mining”; “The continued funding for the restoration of Historical Monuments List items via the National Heritage Program or the Historial Monuments Stamp”; “The support for the local administration to develop the General Urban Plan (PUG) for Roșia Montană”), and the commitments made to the international community, to UNESCO, and particularly to the local community in Roșia Montană.

We demand that you refrain from any act or administrative procedure which would block the discussion of the Roșia Montană application to UNESCO and that you provide the Romanian Delegation at the upcoming Committee’s 44th session with a clear mandate to unequivocally support Roșia Montană’s nomination for inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

You now have the chance to prove through your actions what you have promised, and what you have blamed your political adversaries for: that you do not wish the destruction of Roșia Montană. We are at a crucial moment – not just for Roșia Montană, but for the entire civil society, which will be carefully following the developments on this topic for the upcoming month.

________________________

SIGNATORIES: 86 Romanian active NGOs in the fields of heritage protection and conservation, environment, sustainable development, youth, social and anti-corruption issues.







 

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