On the 29th of November, 2015, the Khartoum office of UNESCO together with partners organized the Conference “Safeguarding Cultural Heritage: Challenges and Opportunities in the Sudanese context”. The Conference was held in the University of Khartoum, the Sharjah Hall. It was organized under the auspice of His Excellency the Minister of Tourism Antiquities and Wildlife.
The conference was inaugurated by welcoming speeches of their excellences: the Minister of Culture, the State Minister of Tourism Antiquities and Wildlife, the Member of the Supreme Council of Islamic Figh, the ambassadors of France, Germany, Italy, the General Secretary of the Sudanese National Commission for Education, Science and Culture, and the Head of UNESCO office in Khartoum. The Conference paid tribute to the courage of Dr. Khaled Al Asaad, Syrian archaeologist, who lost his life safeguarding the artifacts of Palmira. The outstanding expression of the Islamic view on the value of the cultural heritage, delivered by Dr. Osam Ahmed el Bahir, the Member of the Supreme council of the Faigh, became a real brilliant of the welcoming ceremony. Finally, the Minister of Tourism, Antiquities and Wildlife concluded it by the official condemn of Sudan to the intentional damage and vandalism happened with antiquities in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and elsewhere in the world, strengthening the general message of the Conference: to be #United4Heritage.
The conference was attended by 100 participants from six nationalities including researchers, students and other personalities of culture. The total of 2o presentations were delivered by specialists of tangible and intangible cultural heritage, tacking four major issues:
- Islamic prospective towards safeguarding the cultural heritage.
- History of safeguarding the Tangible cultural heritage in Sudan.
- History of safeguarding the intangible cultural heritage in Sudan.
- Challenges and opportunities of safeguarding the cultural heritage.
After a series of constructive discussions, the participants outlined the following recommendations of the Conference:
- Raising the awareness of the young generation and the local communities towards the cultural heritage, its safeguarding and preservation.
- Revising and reinforcing the security measures for museums and antiquities.
- Revising the national legislation and ordinances protecting the cultural heritage in Sudan.
- Promoting a ratification of the 1970 Convention and all necessary institutions for it, in particular – coordinating with the neighboring countries to prevent illicit traffic and retrieval of cultural objects.
- Strengthening the digitalization of cultural objects making them as never being lost for the Humanity.
- To request UNESCO and its advisory bodies to help Sudan to formulate emergency response plans to protect museums and antiquities in case of natural disasters and conflicts.
- To request UNESCO and its advisory bodies to collaborate with Sudan to enhance capacities of the cultural heritage professionals.
- To alert the disputing parties in the conflict areas not to destroy the cultural heritage sites in the targeted areas.
- To request the Government of Sudan to concentrate the responsibility for both the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of the country in one body.