Dear Ambassadors, dear colleagues and friends of Old Cairo,
It is a great pleasure to address this distinguished audience and open this important workshop. The EU and Egypt have a long-standing co-operation in research and innovation in many areas like water, food and climate action, but also other sectors such as migration and cultural heritage. We strongly believe in international co-operation in research and innovation as one of the most sustainable ways to address the societal and economic challenges humanity is facing today.
The funds of the European research and innovation framework programme Horizon 2020 enabled the EU to support initiatives for preserving, reconstructing and promoting cultural heritage. They also encourage innovative use of cultural heritage for creating new jobs, developing sustainable tourism, improving education and preserving our urban and rural cultural landscapes. Tourism and technological change open up opportunities for preserving and sharing local heritage beyond borders and continents.
Let me give you a quick overview of our research, science and innovation cooperation. Horizon 2020, covering the period 2014 - 2021, was the largest and most open research programme in the world. Under Horizon 2020, Egypt is a partner in 51 projects including 56 Egyptian entities. More than 180 Egyptian researchers have benefited from training and fellowship opportunities in Europe under the programme so far.
The workshop today is part of one the project under H2020. It is the “International Network for Leveraging Successful Cultural Heritage Innovations and Diplomacy, Capacity Building and Awareness Raising (ILUCIDARE)”. The workshop will discuss the use of cultural heritage as a regeneration tool to jumpstart the revitalisation process of Historical Cairo. World Monuments Fund Spain has been collaborating with the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science, as well as the Japanese International Cooperation Agency. Examples from the cities of Mexico and Fez will be showcased. There are four key elements on which this workshop will focus on: management and land tenure; private participation on historical center revitalisation; small enterprises and crafts revitalisation; and creating cultural destinations.
Under our cultural heritage programme we have supported sic projects since 2017, aiming at promoting heritage conservation together with sustainable economic growth.
We are proud that we have contributed to the rehabilitation of Al-Maridani Mosque in Islamic Cairo, cultural heritage preservation in the “City of the Dead” and the restoration of the Shali Fortress in Siwa. There are also three running projects in the landmark Egyptian museum at Tahrir Square in Cairo, upgrading its infrastructure and display, in order to increase visitors’ experience and enhance cultural offers around the museum.
The next research and innovation framework programme will be Horizon Europe covering 2021 – 2027; it will continue to support all research and innovation areas including cultural heritage.
I would like to highlight that the programme is open to Egyptian entities to apply, and we hope to see Egyptian entities participating in the programme, which will launch the new calls in April of this year.
Thank you very much and wish you a successful event.