ATHAR at UNESCO-ICCROM-ICOM Joint Mission to Egypt

ATHAR at UNESCO-ICCROM-ICOM Joint Mission to Egypt
5 September 2014

From 4 to 9 September, ICCROM took part in a UNESCO-led joint mission to Egypt, upon a request from the Egyptian authorities. The main aim was to identify areas of cooperation with the national authorities and institutions, and to assist the Government of Egypt on major ongoing cultural heritage projects and challenges in the country.

The mission team consisted of:

  • Stefano De Caro, Director-General of ICCROM
  • Zaki Aslan, Director of the ICCROM-ATHAR Regional Conservation Centre in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
  • Mechtild Rossler, Deputy Director of the Division for Heritage at UNESCO
  • Franca Miglioli from the World Heritage Centre
  • Nao Hayashi, Museums Programme Coordinator at UNESCO
  • Abdin Salih, Director of the UNESCO Cairo Office
  • Tamara Teneishvili, Chief of the Culture Unit, UNESCO Cairo Office
  • Anne-Catherine Robert-Hauglustaine, Director-General of ICOM
  • Regine Schulz, Member of the ICOM Executive Council
  • Mounir Bouchenaki, Director of the Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage (ARC-WH) in Bahrain.

Mohamed Sameh Amr, Permanent Delegate of Egypt to UNECSO and Chairman of the Executive Board led the programme of the visit.

The joint mission to Cairo reviewed, assessed and followed up on previous and ongoing museum activities in Egypt. In particular, the team looked into possible support to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization (NMEC), and the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM), as well as possible follow-up and assistance to be established for the rehabilitation of the Museum of Islamic Art. The latter is part of a Museum Risk and Disaster Preparedness programme initiated by partners last year, with the involvement of a former ICCROM participant forming a national rescue team for Egypt supported by UNESCO-Cairo.

Another major aim for this mission was to evaluate and follow-up on activities and challenges concerning Historic Cairo as well as Abu Mena conservation plans, in connection to threats these World Heritage sites are facing, as reported at the most recent World Heritage Committee meetings.

The mission team visited the key institutions mentioned above, and were received by H.E. the Prime Minister of Egypt, and Their Excellences the Ministers of Antiquities, Education, Higher Education; several separate meetings were also held with each. The team met various stakeholders including the newly-appointed Directors of the institutions, and senior and technical staff. Specific activities were recommended separately for each museum and site. The mission devised an action plan that addresses capacity building and training, strategic complementary vision for the key museums in Cairo, communication strategies and outreach programmes, and integrated approaches to conservation of historic areas. The latter received the support of His Excellency the Prime Minister who formed, during the visit of the international team, a ministerial multi-sectoral committee for the conservation and rehabilitation of Historic Cairo. The visit received wide media coverage.