What is the project EVAH about?

The deterioration of historic cities is a key problem related to cultural heritage in the Western Balkans. Historic buildings are derelict or disfigured by inappropriate additions. Urban structures are neglected, or modernizations are made without proper recognition of the historic urban context. Ineffective waste management and traffic regulation contribute to the disintegration of historic cities. Handcraft workshops and shops are missing because there is no urban environment which could create a conducive business atmosphere. The cause of these problems is a lack of knowledge, awareness and capacities among the general public and decision-makers, who do not sufficiently appreciate the importance of cultural heritage and fail to invest in historic cities in order to promote business development and tourism. Obstacles exist in the legal framework for the revitalization of historic cities and the promotion of handcrafts. European standards are not well known, and decision-makers often lack expertise to transform key concepts, such as authenticity and integrity, into practical guidelines.

The EVAH Project will address these needs and constraints by conducting specialised workshops supported by various media. It aims to make a structural impact through improved regulatory frameworks adopted by governments and parliaments, and better compliance and cooperation by the general public, thus creating a better environment for handcrafts and historic cities. Through the dialogue with pertinent European instruments, organizations, projects, networks and initiatives the Western Balkans will become better aware of the role that the EU plays in safeguarding and promoting historic cities. Promoting Europe as a cultural reality, and the understanding that common cultural values are at the basis of the political and economic stability which make the European Union such an attractive model, are of utmost importance in order to prepare potential member states for accession to the European Union.

The EVAH Consortium include non-governmental non-for-profit organizations involved in the cultural heritage sector in Albania, Greece, Kosovo and the F.Y.R.O.M. as well as a number of European associate partners with experience in similar activities. The duration of the project is 18 months and the Project is funded by the European Union through the IPA 2009 – Civil Society Facility – Multi-beneficiary Programmes “Support to Partnership Actions between Cultural Organizations”.

What are the main objectives?

  • To raise awareness among the general public about the cultural and economic values of historic cities and handcrafts as a common European heritage
  • To raise awareness and build capacities among decision-makers about the cultural and economic values of historic cities and handcrafts as common European heritage
  • To develop synergies among NGOs working for the preservation of historic cities, based on shared European values and standards.