PARIS, - The UNESCO will host an international meeting at which experts will take stock of the underwater heritage which is becoming ever more vulnerable due to its increasing accessibility.

At the UNESCO headquarters on 22nd and 23rd September, participants will examine ways to improve the protection of this heritage from pillaging, commercial exploitation and illegal trade.

The purpose of the meeting is to support the implementation of the UNESCO's Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Heritage. Experts will examine questions concerning the monitoring of sites, pillaging and the trade in illegally or unscientifically salvaged cultural artefacts.

Advances in diving equipment have placed underwater remains within the reach of archaeologists and treasure hunters alike, and the pillaging of such sites is spreading. While many countries have reinforced the protection of their heritage on land, most underwater heritage remains unprotected.

The UNESCO's 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage has been designed to improve the protection of submerged heritage, in line with what is done on land. Fifty-five countries have ratified the convention to date, committing to safeguard this heritage, banning its commercial exploitation and pillaging. The convention also seeks to encourage the exchange of information and draw attention to the importance of this heritage.

Source: Emirates News Agency