Supporting Ukraine at UNESCO in 2023


UNESCO has adopted a number of resolutions supporting Ukraine and condemning Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. UNESCO monitors the destroyed and damaged built heritage and cultural institutions in Ukraine (including satellite images) and carries out missions to assess the heritage situation.

UNESCO organises trainings in Ukraine, has opened a cultural centre in Lviv, promotes the teaching of Ukrainian intangible cultural heritage in school programmes outside Ukraine and supports the training of military personnel in the protection of cultural objects. Special attention is paid to digital transformation in the culture field, with Estonian cultural heritage digitisation expert Raivo Ruusalepp working on a project basis in Ukraine as an international consultant to UNESCO.

Estonia’s four-year mandate in the Committee for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict ended in 2023. On Estonia’s initiative, the committee convened a special session to discuss the implementation of a system of enhanced protection of cultural property in Ukraine and emergency financial aid was allocated to Ukraine.

Estonia has made voluntary contributions to the UNESCO Heritage Emergency Fund totalling EUR 95,000 between 2015 and 2023. In recent years, one of the Fund’s priorities has been the cultural heritage of Ukraine, which is endangered and has been damaged by Russia’s war against Ukraine.

In 2023, Estonia and Ukraine prepared a joint application to UNESCO to include the Pysanka tradition of decorating Easter eggs on the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

In the autumn of 2023, the Estonian National Commission for UNESCO submitted a joint application to UNESCO on behalf of the memory institutions of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine to enter the letters written on birch bark sent from the GULAG prison camps into the UNESCO Memory of the World Register.