A statement from the Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage

The Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage (ARC-WH) followed the news circulating over the past few days concerning the official letter that was sent on December 31, 2019, regarding moving four of Luxor’s sphinx-like statues.

In this regard, ARC-WH wishes to clarify that the official authorities in the Arab Republic of Egypt were contacted by ARC-WH as part of its role and mission to preserve and support World Heritage sites’ management efforts through the implementation of the decisions of the World Heritage Committee. In this correspondence, ARC-WH clarified the technical aspects related to the moving of the statues from a World Heritage site and the importance of communication with specialist advisory bodies to carry out the necessary studies prior to undertaking projects that may compromise the authenticity of the site.

It is worth noting that Category 2 Centres (C2Cs) consist of institutes and centres operating under the auspices of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). As such, they form an important part of UNESCO’s networks and serve as an effective model for partnership in implementing the Organisation’s strategic programmes and goals and supporting areas of priority. C2Cs are tied to UNESCO by formal arrangements approved by the General Conference and are committed to participating in supporting the Organisation’s pursuit of the goals for which it was founded. Some of these centres, such as ARC-WH, operate at the regional level, while others operate at the global level depending on the programmes they cover and the international agreements under which they operate.

In the case of ARC-WH, it is a Category 2 Centre operating under the auspices of UNESCO as an independent Bahraini public institution established by Royal Decree No. 53/2010 2010 issued on December 16, 2010, and an agreement signed between the Kingdom of Bahrain and Director-General of UNESCO on 5 February, 2010.

ARC-WH works in accordance with the agreement signed with UNESCO to promote the implementation of the 1972 World Heritage Convention in the Arab region by supporting the implementation of the decisions and recommendations of the World Heritage Committee, providing technical support to Arab states, advice on the implementation of the World Heritage Convention and preserving World Heritage sites, as well as providing logistical and financial support for regional activities aimed at supporting the World Heritage Convention. Moreover, ARC-WH also serves as an extension of the World Heritage Centre and its partners by consolidating regional capacities for the purpose of preserving the region’s cultural heritage.