PALERMO - A network between UNESCO cities in the Mediterranean is one of the aims of an agreement presented on Thursday by the Standing Committee for the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership of Local and Regional Authorities (COPPEM) and the coordinating organization for UNESCO municipalities of Sicily (CUNES). The purpose is to share experiences, projects and territorial marketing activities focusing on areas ranging from agro-food to culture. Some 43 Sicilian municipalities and the six UNESCO sites on the island take part in CUNES.
The agreement follows a protocol signed in 2011 between COPPEM and the Patrimonio Unesco Sicilia foundation and provides for the creation of a committee to promote UNESCO cities of the Mediterranean for the protection and valorization of cultural and environmental heritage. The establishment of the committee and network are coming on the eve of the official listing of the Arab-Norman site of Palermo, Monreale and Cefalù as UNESCO World Heritage, scheduled for July 4 at the UN agency's General Assembly in Bonn. ''The committee promoting the UNESCO Cities of the Mediterranean network,''said Natale Giordano, technical chief of COPPEM's IV commission, which valorizes cultural and tourism attractions as well as ecomuseums, ''will active the programs of the national culture and development plan of Europa Creativa, directed by the European Commission, Italy and Malta.'' Giordano added that another of the committee's aims was ''the organization of the third festival of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage, which will be held in Sicily in 2016 in collaboration with the ICCN, the world network between cities that have intangible cultural heritage. The festival is expected to last eight days, four in Palermo and Monreale and four in Catania and Noto, the Sicilian cities that are part of the ICCN.''