The meeting calls to modernise legislation in line with international conventions and strengthen national policies to preserve cultural property
A regional meeting on “Enhancing Administrative and Legislative Frameworks for the Protection of Cultural Heritage" organised by the Regional Centre for Cultural Heritage Conservation in the Arab World (ICCROM - Sharjah), with support from the Swiss government, and the UAE’s Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development, discussed the significance of the United Arab Emirates initiatives aimed at preserving cultural heritage and the dissemination of heritage culture in upcoming generations.
Participants from 18 countries from the Arab Region and 3 from Sub-Saharan Africa praised the role of Emirate of Sharjah under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, in promoting cultural heritage as well as the development of programmes and mechanisms that contribute to its preservation.
Aiming to form a working group to formulate and follow up on viable practical procedures, the meeting included a number of international organisations, heritage departments officials and representatives of heritage institutions, legal experts, and representatives of regional and international organisations involved in protecting cultural heritage and fighting illicit trafficking such as UNESCO, Unidroit, and Interpol.
Dr Zaki Aslan, Director of the Regional Centre for Cultural Heritage Conservation in the Arab World (ICCROM-Sharjah) said: “This meeting reflects ICCROM-Sharjah objectives in enhancing regional and international cooperation of all the parties concerned for the protection of cultural heritage and to devise mechanisms that ensure the safeguard of heritage resources”.
He pointed out the importance of the meeting, which discusses methods of protecting cultural heritage against deliberate destruction and illegal trafficking.
The meeting tackled methods of developing scientific and specialised capabilities, and stressed on the importance of establishing comprehensive national databases for museums’ collections.
The participants discussed the cultural policies and administrative and legal frameworks, and their effectiveness in protecting cultural heritage from deliberate destruction, and challenges facing the enforcement of the law due to databases inadequacy.
The participants reviewed the conservation legislative tools recently issued in Palestine, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt, highlighting their experience in protecting cultural and urban heritage. International conventions on cultural property as well as recent UN Security Council resolutions, and the obstacles facing their implementation also came up for detailed discussions.
The meeting also addressed issues of capacity building in several fields including in judicial proceedings for the repatriation of looted or illegally exported artefacts, inventorying and documentation of museum collections as well as Immovable heritage.