Greek Minister of Culture Lina Mendoni awarded on UNESCO-Greece Melina Mercouri International Prize 2023 for the Safeguarding and Management of Cultural Landscapes to the Gunditjmara community of Australia.
Also known as the Dhauwurd Wurrung, the Gunditjmara are an Australian Aboriginal people living in south-west Victoria in the Budj Bim heritage areas.
Created in 1995, the UNESCO-Greece Melina Mercouri International Prize rewards exceptional examples of actions aimed at safeguarding and enhancing the world’s cultural landscapes.
The award was named in honor of the former Greek Minister of Culture and actress. Mélina Mercouri, who promoted integrated heritage conservation during his tenure at the ministry. The UNESCO-Greece Melina Mercouri International Prize is awarded every two years and the winner receives a prize of 30,000 US dollars.
Several territories of the Gunditjmara tribes, which extend over an estimated area of 7,000 km2, including the Budj Bim cultural landscape, were added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2019.
The selection committee recognized the Budj Bim cultural landscape as “an exceptional example of human interaction with the environment spanning more than 6,000 years.” The complex networks of aquaculture systems and traditional land and water management practices demonstrate engineering skills passed down through generations.
“It is now evident that the integrity and authenticity of cultural and natural landscapes can only be ensured and protected through the adoption and implementation of integrated sustainable management plans, based on a holistic and holistic vision and management. which constitute the possible option for long-term sustainable growth,” Mendoni said during the ceremony this week at UNESCO headquarters in Paris.
In this sense, Mendoni referred to the joint initiative of the United Nations, UNESCO and the Greek government to combat the effects of climate change on cultural and natural heritage, which, according to her, was also in line with the strategy of Greece for the protection of cultural heritage against climate change.
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