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Emergency Measures to Protect Syria Heritage

Emergency Measures to Protect Syria HeritageEmergency Measures to Protect Syria Heritage

Some 230 Syrian and international experts joined forces in a two-day meeting to assess damage to cultural heritage sites in Syria, develop methodologies and define priority emergency safeguarding measures for the country’s heritage. The expert meeting, held in Berlin from 2 to 4 June, was organized by UNESCO and Germany.

Held two years after UNESCO’s first emergency expert meeting on Syria, the Berlin conference had three main objectives: exchange information on the condition of all Syrian heritage sites, find a consensus on initial priorities and emergency measures, coordinate all actions and to share a common vision.

The meeting paved the way for UNESCO to update and develop the Action Plan for the Emergency Safeguarding of Syria’s Cultural Heritage, adopted during UNESCO’s first expert meeting on Syria in 2014.

The expert meeting for the emergency safeguarding of Syria’s cultural heritage included several roundtable discussions on damage assessment and current actions by cultural heritage professionals.

The experts proposed practical measures to address damage assessment, mapping and inventories, legal and institutional frameworks, technical assistance and awareness-raising. Concrete measures were identified for historic cities, archaeological sites, museums, movable objects and intangible heritage and added to the UNESCO Recommendations and Road Map, adopted in 2014, UNESCO said in a statement.

Participants also addressed the critical and persistent issue of looting and illicit trafficking of cultural heritage, calling for a comprehensive list of looted objects from Syria to complement the International Council of Museum’s existing Red List.

The experts also appealed to international funding and development agencies to include cultural heritage in major funding programs and post-conflict recovery plans.