Ramallah, 5 December 2019 – Today the closing ceremony took place of the first national capacity-building training on the effective implementation of the 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, and the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and its two Protocols (1954 and 1999) that were ratified by Palestine in 2012.
In light of the increasing threat to archaeological sites and objects, including illegal excavations and unlawful trade of archaeological objects, the effective implementation of the UNESCO 1970 and 1954 Conventions has become an urgent need. The implementation of the conventions requires developing consistent inventories, enhancing and strengthening national capacities of the relevant institutions in fighting against illicit trafficking of cultural property in times of emergencies, including armed conflicts.
This training is aligned with the Palestinian Decree Law concerning Tangible Cultural Heritage (entered into force in 2018). It targeted more than 30 representatives from different directorates at the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities (MoTA), the Ministry of Culture, Law Enforcement Agencies in the Ministry of interior (security forces) as well as other national stakeholders in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The Italian Comando Carabenieri per la Tutela del Patrimonio Culturale, INTERPOL and the UNESCO experts of the 1970 and 1954 Conventions facilitated the training content through its various sessions.
During the 4-day training, the participants deepened their knowledge on the tools provided by the Conventions and the linkages with the Palestinian laws in effect. It was an opportunity to share experiences and to have an overview on the international effort to fight against illicit trafficking.
In the opening ceremony, Mr. Junaid Sorosh-Wali, Officer-in-Charge, Head of Office of UNESCO National Office for Palestine stated that this training is a translation of the strong commitment of UNESCO to support and empower the Palestinian authorities, especially the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, in the implementation of the conventions, through knowledge sharing and technical advice. He further stressed that UNESCO aims by the end of this training, to come up with a concrete modality to establish an institutional framework in Palestine, through the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, that shall effectively implement the 1970 and 1954 Conventions. He also praised the partnership between the Consulate General of Italy, the Carabinieri, MoTA and UNESCO in the organisation of this important training.
Since Palestine joined UNESCO in 2011 and ratified the six UNESCO Conventions in the field of Culture, the UNESCO National Office for Palestine carried out several specialized trainings on the implementation of these conventions including 1972 World Heritage Convention, 2003 Convention on the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage and the 2005 Convention on the Promotion of Diversity of Cultural Expressions.
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For more information on this project, please contact Mohammad Abu Hammad , Project Coordinator at Culture Unit of the UNESCO Ramallah Office, at firstname.lastname@example.org