Home News High-level International Conference on the protection of underwater cultural heritage held in Brest; Meetings held in Paris in the framework of the 2001 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage

High-level International Conference on the protection of underwater cultural heritage held in Brest; Meetings held in Paris in the framework of the 2001 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage

The high-level international conference on the protection of underwater cultural heritage was held in Brest, in the Grand Amphitheatre des Ateliers des Capucins, from 17 to 19 June 2019. It was organized by the French Government together with UNESCO.
The Conference was focused on issues of ratification and implementation of the 2001 Convention, protection of underwater archaeology, underwater robot technologies, marine law as well as challenges related to sustainable tourism and other topics. The purpose of the Conference was to consider the existing system of protection and conservation of underwater cultural heritage in line with UN's Sustainable Development Objectives, in particular with Goal 14 on the sustainable use of the oceans, seas and sea resources.

 

The Director-General of UNESCO Audrey Azoulay together with Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, opened the international conference attended by the High Representatives of the signatory states of the 2001 Convention, members of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Body (STAB), representatives of the diplomatic missions accredited to France, members of the UNESCO UNITWIN Network for underwater archeology, non-governmental organizations, international experts in underwater archaeology and others.


The Director-General of UNESCO called for the protection of underwater cultural heritage and underscored the need to promote collective solutions to address the threats facing underwater cultural heritage: looting, industrial activity, intensive exploitation of fishing resources. The French pioneering role in the field of underwater archeology was highlighted. Organising this Conference the French presiding over the 2001 Convention was finished. The France intends to continue its efforts to raise awareness about the need to protect underwater heritage among international stakeholders and to commit to promoting broad accession to the 2001 Convention.

 

The annual meeting of the UNESCO UNITWIN Network for Underwater Archeology, chaired by the University of Southampton, was also held in Brest. The importance of the 2001 Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage was stressed, as well as the UNESCO’s role in issues that fall within its core competencies. The UNITWIN network was established in 2012 with the aim of promoting research, education, information and enhancing the protection and research of underwater cultural heritage.

 

Brest in Brittany is an important harbor and military port but also a university city of rich history which offers numerous attractions.  The organizers provided several interesting visits - to the Océanopolis Centre for the Scientific and Technical Culture of the Sea and its aquariums, the National Maritime Museum, shipyard, and participants had an opportunity to see the French archaeological research vessel André Malraux.

 

The seventh session of the Meeting of States Parties to the 2001 Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage took place at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris from 20th to 21st June 2019. The participants were presented the Secretariat’s and STAB mission reports, the 2001 Convention Internal Review Report (2019 marks the 10th anniversary of its entry into force), it was discussed a need for new ratifications, greater visibility for the Convention and its enhanced implementation.
The best examples of underwater cultural heritage protection were presented and new STAB members were elected.
The tenth meeting of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Body will be held subsequently.

 

The international conference in Brest and meetings in Paris were attended by ICUA representatives, Director Mladen Pešić and Head of the Department for International Cooperation and European Affairs Doris Kurtov. The ICUA’s Director held a presentation about tourism and access to underwater cultural heritage on 18th June 2019.

 

 

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