ABU DHABI, 3rd December, 2016 (WAM)–The hosting of The Safeguarding Endangered Cultural Heritage Conference in Abu Dhabi is seen as a sign of interest in the world’s cultural heritage threatened by conflicts, Nada Al Hassan, Chief of the Arab Region, UNESCO World Heritage Centre, has said.

She added the UAE is among the first Arab countries that have shown avid interest in this respect.

Al Hassan said during her participation at the international conference, which concluded on Saturday, “We are pleased with the interest shown by the Arab country in the cultural heritage amid absence of Arab efforts over the past years.”

She noted that the conference assembled experts and specialists, stressing that Abu Dhabi is leading a major and very important initiative, which will help in protection of the heritage threatened by conflicts in the world and Arab countries.

Al Hassan explained that UNESCO has been working since 1950s to protect the cultural heritage threatened by conflicts, adding that UNESCO struck the international conventions to protect the threatened heritage, such as the Hague Convention on Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.

She said that UNESCO set international legal mechanisms to protect the heritage through its practical experiences in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Mali and other countries that underwent conflicts and disputes. Some of heritage sites have been rehabilitated as well as communities to safeguard the cultural heritage, Al Hassan added.

She underlined that UNESCO is currently working at the conflict zones to assess the damage, build the capacity and set up institutions to protect the heritage through preventive protection as well as set future heritage protection action plans.

Al Hassan said UNESCO coordinates efforts of organisations in Germany, Italy and France to develop a unified strategy regarding working with human resources in areas of the endangered cultural heritage. “This issue will be the most important topic that catches attention of the Global Fund for Protection of Endangered Cultural Properties in times of armed conflicts, which was announced during the conference in Abu Dhabi, she said.

WAM/Majok