Minister Joly Announces Funds to Protect Heritage in Emergencies

News release

GATINEAU, February 23, 2018

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, has approved a contribution of $200,000 to the Heritage Emergency Fund of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). This announcement reaffirms Canada’s commitment to the protection of cultural heritage and pluralism in armed conflict and other emergencies, and to the leadership role played by UNESCO in responding to such emergencies wherever they occur.

Minister Joly reiterated Canada’s commitment to international cooperation during the 2017 meeting of G7 ministers of culture in Florence, Italy. The Government of Canada will continue working with UNESCO’s partnering states to prevent damage, destruction and looting of cultural heritage during armed conflict and natural disasters.

In Canada, the Canadian Conservation Institute—a special operating agency of Canadian Heritage—provides a range of emergency response training to Canadian institutions. It collaborates with international partners to share its expertise in heritage preservation and disaster preparedness.


“As Minister of Canadian Heritage, I am committed to promoting tolerance and diversity, and to supporting international efforts to protect heritage. With this contribution of $200,000 to UNESCO’s Heritage Emergency Fund, Canada looks forward to continued international cooperation to safeguard the world’s heritage.”

—The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage

“The Canadian Commission for UNESCO welcomes this contribution to UNESCO’s Heritage Emergency Fund. Over recent years, natural disasters, conflicts and wars have resulted in the destruction, often systematic, of cultural and natural heritage. With support from countries like Canada, UNESCO has additional means to safeguard what constitutes a core part of our diversity, ingenuity and humanity.”

—Dr. Christina Cameron, President, Canadian Commission for UNESCO

Quick facts

  • Canada was the first member of the G7 to become a State Party to UNESCO’s 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and both of its two protocols. The Government lead on those treaties rests with Canadian Heritage.

  • Canada is also a State Party to the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, and has returned illegally exported heritage objects to 12 countries on 23 occasions.

  • In 2015, UNESCO established a Heritage Emergency Fund to support a wide range of actions to protect heritage from disasters and conflicts. Activities supported through the Fund can range from preparedness measures such as training, to rapid response during a conflict, to recovery and rehabilitation efforts.

  • Examples of recent UNESCO actions include those following earthquakes in Nepal, Myanmar and Iran, and emergency interventions in Palmyra, Syria.

  • This is Canada’s first contribution since the Heritage Emergency Fund was established in 2015.

Associated links


For more information (media only), please contact:

Simon Ross
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Media Relations
Canadian Heritage

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