UNESCO has included the historical center of the Ukrainian city of Odessa in the World Heritage List. AT press release The organization notes that in this way UNESCO recognizes “the outstanding universal value of this site and the duty of all mankind to protect it.”
“While the war continues, this recognition embodies our collective determination to ensure that this city is preserved from further destruction,” said Audrey Azoulay, Director General of UNESCO, commenting on the inclusion of Odessa on the World Heritage List.
It follows from the press release that, in accordance with the provisions of the Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, all 194 countries that have adopted it undertake "not to take any deliberate steps that may directly or indirectly damage the World Heritage property, and to assist in its protection ".
In addition, the recognition of the historic center of Odessa as a World Heritage Site gives Ukraine the right to request enhanced technical and financial international assistance to ensure the protection of the city.
According to AFP, during an emergency meeting of the Historical Heritage Committee, the city's application was supported by six countries, 14 abstained from voting, Russia voted against.
The Permanent Delegation of the Russian Federation to UNESCO stated that the decision to include Odessa on the World Heritage List was made bypassing the rules. Russian representatives believe that Ukraine, in particular, hid from the committee information about the demolition of city monuments, which were dismantled after the application was submitted. It is also about dismantling monument to Catherine II on Catherine's Square in Odessa.
Preparatory procedure with the participation of international experts for the inclusion of Odessa in the relevant list was launched in August 2022 with the support of Italy and Greece. The official application was submitted by the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky in October last year. The decision on the status of the city was made according to an accelerated procedure in connection with the ongoing conflict on the territory of Ukraine.
Also on the UNESCO World Heritage List are: St. Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv, Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, as well as the ensemble of the historical center of Lviv.