UNESCO Initiative – Protection of cultural heritage is an important factor of ocean safeguarding efforts


Underwater cultural heritage, such as historic shipwrecks and sunken cities, is increasingly subject to treasure-hunt, pillage, industrial damage and destruction. UNESCO’s 2001 Convention aims to harmonize the protection of submerged heritage with that accorded to cultural heritage on land, and strengthen this work within the framework of ocean safeguarding initiatives.


On 23 and 24 April 2018, UNESCO is convening two meetings relating to the protection of the ocean’s heritage.

On 23 April, “Heritage and our Oceans” will bring together representatives from UNESCO’s Underwater Cultural Heritage (2001) and World Heritage (1972) Conventions, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), the 2001 Convention Scientific and Technical Advisory Body (STAB), international experts and Member States to discuss synergies between various ocean and heritage stakeholders and initiatives. In particular, they will explore how, in the wider context and discourse of ocean safeguarding, including the International Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021 – 2030), the protection of the world’s underwater cultural heritage can be strengthened.


The Agenda for the meeting is available here.

On 24 April, the ninth meeting of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Body (STAB) of the 2001 Convention will take place. This 12-member intergovernmental expert body will discuss, inter alia STAB Assistance Missions (Bulgaria and Guatemala), best practices on access to underwater cultural heritage, heritage protection in the framework of the International Decade of Ocean Science, and cases of importance for worldwide heritage protection.

The Agenda and working documents of the STAB meeting are available here.

These sessions, organized in the framework of the 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage, will be held in Room IV at UNESCO Headquarters (Fontenoy building).