(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM))
ABU DHABI, 16th November, 2016 (WAM) -- A new international partnership aimed at protecting cultural heritage during armed conflicts will be announced between the United Arab Emirates and France at the Safeguarding Endangered Cultural Heritage Conference in Abu Dhabi.
This initiative will be launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Francois Hollande, President of France, during the conference held under the patronage of UNESCO, on 2nd and 3rd December at Emirates Palace.
The global conference is being organised by the two governments in response to the growing threats to some of the world's most important cultural resources arising from sustained periods of armed conflicts, acts of terrorism and illicit trafficking of cultural property. The systematic destruction or looting of historic sites and monuments representing civilisations that go back millennia, like in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Mali, and throughout the world, are among the cases that have motivated the UAE and France to partner and to support UNESCO's global mandate to protect cultural heritage during armed conflicts, according to Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, TCA Abu Dhabi.
Speaking about the need for the conference at this time, Mohammed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of TCA Abu Dhabi, said, "The legacy of a nation is manifest in its art, architecture and culture. The continuing devastation of these treasures in combat zones deprives us, and future generations, of a resource that is of enormous historical value. The deliberate destruction of cultural artefacts as an act of war reflects not only their symbolic importance to a nation's collective consciousness but also underscores the urgent need to protect them."
He continued, "Our ancestors passed down cultural heritage that has defined our civilisation and united mankind through shared history. Safeguarding this heritage often becomes secondary to humanitarian, social and economic issues in times of unforeseen conflict, yet it is our duty to come together and strive for the protection and perpetuation of this heritage."
The conference will be led by Mohammed Khalifa Al Mubarak, along with Jack Lang, President of the Institut du Monde Arabe. It brings together more than 40 countries as well as key players, private or public institutions, involved in world heritage conservation. The mandate for the conference will be to define and achieve practical and sustainable goals in effectively safeguarding endangered movable and immovable cultural resources. This will involve the development of concrete and innovative solutions as well as the creation of a global framework for immediate and long-term goals.
The conference will conclude with the adoption of the Abu Dhabi Declaration.