Regional workshop on the Protection and Management of Maritime and Underwater Cultural Heritage
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In partnership with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Regional Conservation Centre in Sharjah (ICCROM-Sharjah) and the New York University of Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) have jointly organized a Regional Workshop on the Protection and Management of Maritime and Underwater Cultural Heritage to support future development of relevant programmes in the Arab countries.

The workshop started on January 28, 2019 and included experts and representatives of official cultural institutions in the Arab region: Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Bahrain, Jordan, Oman, Lebanon, Syria and the United Arab Emirates.

Participants of the workshop formed a “regional working group” that discussed, during four days, strategies for the conservation and management of maritime and submerged cultural heritage aiming to raise the awareness of policy makers on the need to protect it, to ratify relevant international conventions, and to integrate them in national legislation in order to establish a policy framework relevant to the realities of the region.

After presenting the situation of maritime and underwater cultural heritage in their countries as well as existing legal frameworks currently in place, the regional working group agreed on several recommendations in the areas of capacity building, fighting illicit trade and sustainable development:

- Encouraging cultural competent authorities to take preventive and procedural measures that fight illicit trafficking of underwater cultural heritage, as well as to undertake heritage environmental impact assessments in order to achieve sustainable development in coastal historical cities.

- Improving institutional capacity in the Protection and Management of Maritime and Underwater Cultural Heritage through education, university and training programmes.

- Developing institutional and legal frameworks within institutions responsible for heritage protection, while aligning national laws with international conventions.