Emergency Safeguarding of the Syrian Cultural Heritage

“Protecting and safeguarding Syria’s cultural heritage are essential for the restoration of social cohesion, the stability and the sustainable development of the country in view of the destruction and loss of its rich and unique cultural heritage.”


The European Union funded project aims to provide an operational response to halt the on-going loss of cultural heritage and prepare post-conflict priority actions in Syria.

What are the objectives of the project?

The main objective of the Emergency Safeguarding of the Syrian Cultural Heritage project is to contribute to restoring social cohesion, stability and sustainable development through the protection and safeguarding of cultural heritage in view of the on-going and growing destruction and loss of Syria's rich and unique cultural heritage.

The project is a first step to monitor the damage and loss of cultural heritage, to mitigate its destruction, and to prepare post-conflict priority actions, as well as establish medium and long term actions to restore normalcy and social cohesion in the country.

What type of actions can help safeguard Syria's cultural heritage?

Recent conflicts have shown the growing and irreversible threats to cultural heritage in times of unrest. Certain measures can substantially contribute to reducing the impact of these threats through strong awareness-raising campaigns, improving understanding on the current situation, strengthening technical capacities of cultural heritage professionals, customs officers, and knowledge bearers, as well as coordinating international and national efforts.

UNESCO is implementing a three-pronged approach:

  • Monitor and assess the cultural heritage situation in Syria through updated and continued knowledge and documentation shared by UNESCO, its partners and all stakeholders involved in safeguarding Syria's cultural heritage, which are widely disseminated on the Observatory of Syrian Cultural Heritage. This platform provides information on damages and looting of sites and structures, as well as information on on-going projects and initiatives to protect and safeguard cultural heritage. In parallel, a database of experts and available documentation on cultural heritage in Syria are being constantly updated to create optimal conditions for post-conflict recovery activities.
  • Mitigate the destruction and loss of Syrian cultural heritage through national and international awareness-raising efforts. A multimedia awareness-raising campaign, using international, regional and national media and social networks, and will include the dissemination of video clips, a documentary and a publication on Syrian cultural heritage. Educational activities on cultural heritage aimed specifically at children and educators will be developed in the coming months.
  • Protect and safeguard Syrian cultural heritage through enhanced technical assistance and capacity-building for national stakeholders and beneficiaries.

“The training is essential in helping with the maintenance and restauration of damaged sites,” said Ghanem in his assessment of a technical workshop.



2014 - 2017

80% Complete



Emergency Safeguarding of the Syrian Cultural Heritage contributes to SDG 11 Sustainable cities and communities, by making the cities inclusive, safe and resilient. In particular, it addresses target 11.4 through the protection and safeguarding of the world's cultural and natural heritage. 



This project is funded by the European Union's Directorate-General for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR).


Additional Resources


UNESCO Office ni Beirut