From Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to Big Ocean Sustainable States (BOSS): Safeguarding Underwater Cultural Heritage (UCH) for Sustainable Development

When :

from Thursday 1 November, 2018
to Friday 2 November, 2018

Type of event :

Category 7-Seminar and Workshop

Where :

Apia, Samoa

Contact :

The UCH Side Event will take place on 1 November 2018 at the margin of the Inter-regional Preparatory Meeting for the Midterm Review of the SAMOA Pathway (Apia, 30 October – 1 November 2018). A panel of experts will present progress and trends related to the contribution of UCH to the Blue Economy and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Under Water Cultural Heritage (UCH) is more than shipwrecks. Submerged human settlements and caves, stone fish traps, ancient ports that are abundant in SIDS and at the Blue Continent are important parts of UCH. UCH holds great potential for reconstructing past cultures, advancing climate knowledge, and contributing to the Blue Economy. Given the strong connection of SIDS to the ocean, the SAMOA Pathway supports “SIDS to conserve their valuable UCH” and invites “SIDS to become parties to the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage” (paragraphs 54 and 58).

The UCH Convention was adopted with a view to protecting UCH that becomes increasingly accessible due to the advancement of technologies from several threats including “treasure hunting” and ill-managed development projects. Its State Cooperation System provides a comprehensive coverage of UCH regardless of its location including the High Seas or the Areas beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ), strengthening the ocean governance in the 21st century.

UNESCO's Side Event on Safeguarding UCH for Sustainable Development aims to provide updates on the UCH safeguarding for Sustainable Development and the promotion of the UCH Convention in SIDS.

The Event will feature presentations from the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) that became the first state party from the Pacific to the UCH Convention in 2018, renowned maritime archaeologist Dr William Jeffery, the Pacific Community (SPC), and the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO).

The audience will obtain up-to-date information on how the diverse UCH in the Pacific are contributing to scientific research and education, environmental protection, youth employment, and the Blue Economy through sustainable tourism. The findings of the ongoing research on the stone fish traps in Yap will also be presented to showcase the Pacific peoples’ unique living heritage, while new initiatives on the Marine Eco-Tourism will be introduced.