Heritage of Water II: Cultural Practices in Wetlands and World Heritage Sites

Following the side-event held under the same topic of Traditional Water Systems, on 29 June 2018 the Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage (ARC-WH), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the African World Heritage Fund (AWHF) held an event on the topic Heritage of Water: Cultural Practices in Wetlands and World Heritage Sites.  An invited panel of international experts in the field of natural and cultural heritage discussed the vital role water plays in cultural practices in water-dependent communities.

Along with discussions, implementation of the report Rapid Cultural Inventories of Wetlands in Arab States – which applies the methodology suggested by the Ramsar Convention Secretariat and deploys the Ramsar Guidance on Rapid Cultural Inventories for Wetlands – was launched.  The Rapid Cultural Assessment was undertaken for six Arab states: Algeria, Egypt, Mauritania and Tunisia (in Africa); and Iraq and Yemen (in Asia). The selected countries were identified by the Ramsar Secretariat, IUCN, and ARC-WH as being highly representative for the Ramsar and World Heritage Conventions in general terms and relevant for the assessment scope specifically.

The assessment sheds light on the importance of cultural values and practices – in particular Ramsar Site and World Heritage Properties and wetland areas – highlighting the powerful role that cultural practices play in regard to wetland conservation and use.  The publication was launched by ARC-WH and Ramsar, with assisted funding provided by MAVA.