Tuesday 26 January 2021 - 7:37:12 am

UAE chairs 18th meeting of GCC under-secretaries of antiquities, museums

ABU DHABI, 26th November, 2020 (WAM) -- The UAE, represented by the Ministry of Culture and Youth, chaired the 18th regular meeting of under-secretaries in charge of antiquities and museums in Gulf Cooperation Council, GCC, member states, which was held remotely via video conferencing.

The meeting was chaired by Sheikh Salem Al Qassimi, Assistant Under-Secretary of Arts and Heritage at the Ministry of Culture and Youth, who welcomed the meeting’s participants and thanked the GCC Secretariat-General for holding the meeting, which he hoped would help encourage joint GCC action in antiquities and museums affairs.

Al Qasimi stressed that the world is facing significant challenges due to the coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic, which has imposed a new reality for the economic and development sectors, most notably the museums and antiquities sector, which is suffering due to closures and the suspension of related activities.

Statistics from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO, and the International Council of Museums, ICOM, show that 90 percent of the world’s museums accounting for over 85,000 establishments have closed, underscoring a significant crisis that requires new ways of adapting to the new reality and further support, he added.

He also noted that the UAE promotes cooperation with countries and international organisations to protect and preserve heritage sites around the world, as well as combating all forms of smuggling of antiquities. The UAE Government recently issued the executive regulations of an antiquities law, which aims to preserve immovable antiquities in the country, he further added.

Al Qasimi then pointed out that the UAE launched the "Architecture in the UAE" initiative to document and preserve its modern architectural heritage linked to the life of the community, especially from the 1960s.

"The country’s efforts are continuing to protect cultural heritage threatened by armed conflicts. It cooperates with the UNESCO in Mosul to restore heritage monuments and uses modern digital technologies to achieve this purpose," he noted.

The meeting discussed several key topics, most notably the efforts of member states to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, heritage excavation programmes and training programmes, as well as the launch of a regular joint antiquities exhibition, the drafting of a GCC architectural heritage preservation document, and international cooperation in antiquities and museums.

WAM/Esraa Ismail/Tariq alfaham