In recognition of the importance of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage (2001), the Government of Croatia and UNESCO are organizing a regional meeting on the implementation and ratification of the Convention in South-East Europe, to be held at the International Centre for Underwater Archaeology - ICUA in Zadar, Croatia, on 30 September and 1 October 2014.
High-level representatives of the ministries of culture attending the meeting will share their country’s experiences in ratifying and implementing the 2001 Convention and will be authorized to commit to issues concerning future regional cooperation.
The meeting will have a particular focus on fostering cooperation in matters concerning the protection and promotion of underwater cultural heritage in South-East Europe. Issues addressed will include legal protection, cooperation in research, responsible public heritage access and awareness, fund-raising etc. Representatives from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Montenegro, the Republic of Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Turkey are invited to take part.
The meeting will feature two side events. The first will be the inauguration of the ICUA's new Library housing an important collection of scientific and educational texts on underwater archaeology, in large part donated by the German Archaeological Institute – Roman-Germanic Commission. The second will be the opening of a temporary exhibition on underwater archaeology. Plans will also be presented for the renovation of Saint Nicholas Church in Zadar, which will become the seat of the ICUA's Museum of Underwater Archaeology.
This Regional Meeting is a renewed opportunity to establish a collaborative approach and share a common vision on measures to preserve and protect underwater cultural heritage and its cultural and historical context, and to make it accessible to the general public.
The 2001 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage was developed and adopted by the Member States of UNESCO. As an international treaty, it is a response of the international community to the increasing looting and destruction of underwater cultural heritage. The 2001 Convention entered into force on 2 January 2009.