UNDERWATER CULTURAL HERITAGE CONVENTION NEEDS TO BE IMPLEMENTED
The World Archaeological Congress expresses its appreciation for, and recognition of, the first 17 nations to ratify the UNESCO convention on the protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage (2001) and its Annex.
“We would like to encourage the small number of nations that abstained from voting or voted against the UNESCO Convention to reconsider their position,” said Professor Claire Smith, President of the World Archaeological Congress. “However, it is satisfying that there is worldwide support as all nations unanimously supported the Convention Annex, which sets out the “rules for activities directed at underwater cultural heritage.”
“If we are going to protect our global heritage it is essential that all nations respect the spirit of the Convention, abide by the rules of the Annex to the Convention and establish administrative and funding mechanisms to allow the effective implementation of the Convention as soon as possible.”
“We encourage the Director-General of UNESCO to give urgent consideration to the funding and implementation of administrative arrangements for the processing of information and the institution of consultative processed specified in the UNESCO Convention.”
The World Archaeological Congress urges countries to allocate resources and legislative mechanisms that are appropriate and adequate to meet heritage management needs: to mitigate for natural and human impacts on underwater cultural heritage and to develop and promote structures and capacity to enable sustainable use and common stewardship of that heritage.
“The World Archaeological Congress congratulates Mexico on the preservation and promotion of their underwater cultural heritage,” said Professor Smith. “Mexico is leading developments in Latin American underwater archaeology.”
The World Archaeological Congress encourages all nations to recognize the importance of all maritime and underwater archaeological sites in their waters regardless of original cultural affiliation, country of origin, or history.
The World Archaeological Congress encourages a collaborative approach by all stakeholders to the research, management, protection, and creation of deeper understanding of shipwreck archaeology.
“Sea levels have changed regularly throughout human history and there are many sites that are now below current sea levels,” said Professor Smith. “It is important that
we promote research and proactive management of these submerged cultural landscapes.”
The World Archaeological Congress recognizes the immediate vulnerability of all coastal cultural resources to rising sea levels and climate change, and recommends that an appropriate response be multidisciplinary and involve collaborative action with local communities.
Th resolution under lying this press release was proposed by participants in the Maritime and Underwater Archaeology Theme at the Sixth World Archaeological Congress, held in Dublin, Ireland, 29th June—4th July, followed by meetings of the World Archaeological Congress Council and Executive.
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Further Information: Professor Claire Smith
Mobile: 0872 698 353 (Ireland)
The World Archaeological Congress (WAC) is a non-governmental, not-for-profit organization and is the only elected international body of practising archaeologists. WAC holds an international congress every four years to promote the exchange of the results of archaeological research; professional training and public education for disadvantaged nations, groups and communities; the empowerment and betterment of Indigenous groups and First Nations peoples; and the conservation of archaeological sites.
The Sixth World Archaeological Congress (WAC-6) was held from 29th June—4th July at the University College Dublin. This was the first World Archaeological Congress to be held in Ireland. It was attended by over 1,800 archaeologists, native peoples and international scholars from 74 nations. Motions from the Plenary session of the Congress were considered by subsequent meetings of the World Archaeological Congress Council and Executive.
The Congress Patron for WAC-6 was President Mary McAleese. Previous Congress Patrons include Harriet Mayor Fulbright, Prince Charles and Nelson Mandela.