Letter: Paying for world monuments

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The Independent Online
Paying for world monuments

Sir: In his article ("Clinging to the Wreckage", 10 May) about the World Monuments Watch - a programme of the World Monuments Fund in New York launched with support of $5m over five years from American Express - Adrian Dannatt is mistaken about how this grant is being used. He writes that the sum "must have been eaten up by organisational and marketing costs" and by "hungry journalists ".

In fact, of American Express's grant of $5m, 90 per cent ($4.5m) is designated for and restricted to grants to historic sites. Only the balance will be used by the World Monuments Fund for administrative expenses, including those of public relations.

The World Monuments Watch was designed to identify one hundred historic sites each year as the most imperilled in the world and make possible new funding for as many of these sites as possible. The list has been envisioned to serve as a call to action to encourage corporations, government agencies and foundations worldwide to come to the aid of imperilled historic sites. No single organisation can save the world's cultural heritage, but the response we have witnessed so far to the World Monuments Watch programme gives us every reason to move ahead with optimism.

BONNIE BURNHAM

Executive Director

World Monuments Fund

New York

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