Regional Planning: Rescuing Cultural Heritage in the Arab Region

Regional Planning: Rescuing Cultural Heritage in the Arab Region
9 October 2014

On 29 and 30 September, ICCROM-ATHAR, UNESCO and the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO) held a meeting in Cairo to form national and regional teams for the safeguarding of endangered cultural heritage in the region. This meeting gathered representatives from Egypt, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan and Syria, who reported on risks to heritage in their countries, in addition to the local and national initiatives taken in this context.

The meeting discussed possible solutions for the ongoing crises, and decisions were made to implement regional courses to build capacity in risk management and the protection of cultural heritage in times of emergency.

To this end, a first course will commence next January in Cairo to train multidisciplinary national teams from the above-mentioned countries. The course will focus on developing skills in risk management planning, documentation, rescue measures and security procedures for heritage protection. It will also emphasize the involvement of local communities and raising awareness in times of emergency, as well as in project planning for recovery after crises.

The implementation of this course comes thanks to the success of ICCROM’s practical training held in Egypt over the past three years, through which a rescue team was formed to safeguard Egyptian heritage. This team contributed to the protection of the Islamic Arts Museum that was destroyed in early 2014.

ICCROM, ALECSO and UNESCO will cooperate with national institutions to carefully select participants and teams with a long-term view of establishing a network of experts. Efforts will also be made to establish an observatory that will monitor the state of heritage places and devise a mechanism for rapid interventions by the teams trained through these courses. These activities will be closely followed and supported by project partners via the ICCROM-ATHAR Regional Conservation Centre in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.