UNESCO: Notre Dame can evolve in its rebuilding

PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 03: A general view of the Notre Dame Cathedral on October 3, 2018, in Paris, France. (Photo by Doug Kranz/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)

PARIS — The UN’s cultural agency said the reconstruction of Notre Dame must protect the universal value of the site but that it doesn’t mean the cathedral must be rebuilt exactly as it was.

A delegation from UNESCO, which oversees global heritage issues, met with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Friday.

According to Macron’s office, UNESCO representatives said they were ready to help with the reconstruction of Notre Dame, especially by providing technical expertise.

UNESCO director-general Audrey Azoulay said the monument’s “integrity and authenticity” must be respected, since it’s a World Heritage site, but that doesn’t mean the site must remain unchanged. The comments were reported by Macron’s office.

UNESCO formally recognizes the right of each generation to participate in humanity’s heritage “including through adaptation to natural and historic processes of change and transformation” and “new possibilities offered by evolving technologies.”

French President Emmanuel Macron pledged Tuesday to rebuild the cathedral “even more beautifully” after a raging fire destroyed its spire and its roof but spared most of the structure, including the church’s twin medieval bell towers.

Macron said he wanted to see the renovation of the beloved Roman Catholic architectural landmark completed within five years.

“We have so much to rebuild,” Macron said in a televised address to the nation. “We will rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral even more beautifully. We can do it, and once again, we will mobilize (to do so).”