International Meeting on Cities and Heritage in Arab Countries

Under the patronage of HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan Al Qassimi Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, and Princess Lalla Hasna, President of the Moroccan Society for Archeology and Heritage, the Regional Conservation Centre in Sharjah )ICCROM-Sharjah(  in collaboration with the Moroccan Society for Archeology and Heritage (SMAP) and the Ministry of Culture and Communication, has organised the “International Meeting on Cities and Heritage in the Arab Countries” during the period from 26-28 November 2018 in Essaouira antique city in Morocco.

The meeting aimed to identify and highlight effective and influential factors that contribute to the preservation of historic urban landscape in Arab cities, encourage social diversity, share experiences and exchange ideas of solutions on common challenges. The forum was an appropriate platform to present case studies from the Arab region, from North Africa, Middle East and Arabian Peninsula, that aim at preserving the quality of life in historic neighborhoods and cities, by adopting the most appropriate tool to develop cultural heritage and achieve sustainable development.

The meeting focused on three main themes: institutional and legal frameworks aimed at integrating conservation of historic neighborhoods and cities within the framework of sustainable development, building practical capacities, that include education and university qualifications, and promoting scientific research and the exchange of information and communication, and finally, promoting a participatory and collaborative approach between stakeholders, international institutions, experts and managers of historic city sites.

In addition, a number of international experts, a significant number of institutions and specialists working in the field of heritage conservation from 16 Arab countries participated in the event and presented their experiences and case studies. As well as a number of prominent specialists and researchers in the fields of humanitarian and social sciences from Morocco and the region.

After three days of presentations and group discussions, the forum participants concluded the forum with a set of recommendations that focused on the need to launch a comprehensive documentation effort using up-to-date technologies, especially GIS, assessment and evaluation of the effectiveness of current legislations relevant to the field, explore possibilities to launch special fund to support Historic Urban Landscape projects in the Arab region.