UCLG-MEWA Committee on Culture and Tourism gathered virtually on January 13, 2021, and carried out the evaluation of 2020 and the planning of 2021.
The meeting was held with the participants consisting of the Committee’s Presidency, members and stakeholders. In the opening session, Mehmet Duman, UCLG-MEWA Secretary General, and Nidai Güngördü, Mayor of Kyrenia and President of the Committee, and Co-Presidents Nicola Khamis (Mayor of Beit Jala), Yücel Yılmaz (Mayor of Balıkesir) and Rasim Arı (Mayor of Nevşehir) delivered their greeting speeches. Zinnur Büyükgöz, Mayor of Gebze, Elif Köse, Mayor of Safranbolu, and Mahmut Özçınar, Mayor of Yeşilyurt, who attended the meeting to contribute to the activities of the committee, also tackled the importance of culture and tourism in local policies.
In the second part of the meeting, the 2020 activities of the committee were evaluated. The book entitled “The Role of Local Governments in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage – Turkey” that was written by Assoc. Prof. Özlem Karakul and Assist. Prof. Tuna Yıldız, was presented, and Karakul and Yıldız said that the book will be a significant reference work in dealing with tangible and intangible cultural heritage in a holistic manner. The website on “Sustainable Tourism Good Practices” led by the Committee on Culture and Tourism, where the good practices of local governments will be collected, was also launched at the meeting and local governments were invited to share their practices. Jordi Pascual, Coordinator of UCLG Committee on Culture, made a presentation on the work carried out in collaboration with UCLG World Organization in 2020 and discussed the contributions of UCLG-MEWA within the context of International Culture 21 Awards, policy documents on culture and the Rome Charter. Pınar Adanalı gave information about the Design4SDG project developed by Kütahya Municipality and UCLG-MEWA, while the Committee Secretariat informed the participants regarding the #ItWasHere project, specifically planned in Istanbul. 2020 assessment ended with the speeches of Giuseppe Olmeti, Secretary General of European Territorial Cooperation Group “Ceramic Cities”, and Mehmet Zenci, Director of Cultural and Social Affairs in Kütahya Municipality, considering the importance of city partnerships on the basis of ceramic, and creating a national network in this regard in Turkey.
The third section in which committee’s 2021 activities were discussed, Onur Eryüce from Izmir Metropolitan Municipality and Jordi Pascual from UCLG Committee on Culture shared the recent developments about the 4th UCLG Culture Summit to be held in İzmir. The summit, for which an online preparation meeting will be held in June 2021, is planned to be held in Izmir in September. The planned publications and activities of the committee were also discussed in this section. The announcement of the new book of the book series on “The Role of Local Governments in the Protection of Cultural Heritage” and the publication of “MEWA Countries in the World Cultural Heritage List” were announced. It was decided that the “Intangible Cultural Heritage Task Force”, which operates under the committee and led by Balıkesir Metropolitan Municipality and Şanlıurfa Metropolitan Municipality, will hold a meeting in Balıkesir this year. Balıkesir Metropolitan Municipality also requested hosting for the Accessible Tourism workshop. The last presentation of the meeting was made by Dr. Ege Yildirim, who is working on SDGs and culture, about a new international cultural initiative called Our World Heritage. The meeting ended with the decision to arrange a joint working schedule among the members and stakeholders, and the closing speeches of Mehmet Duman, Secretary General, and Nidai Güngördü, Mayor of Kyrenia and President of the Committee.