Strengthening Capacities of World Heritage Professionals for Cultural and Natural Sites in the Arab Region

The Director of the Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage, Dr Heba Abdel-Aziz, inaugurated yesterday a workshop on Strengthening Capacties of World Heritage Professionals for Cultural and Natural Sites in the Arab Region. The workshop is taking place in Aswan, Egypt. The workshop is held between 29 January and 2 February and is in collaboration with the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), and the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in cooperation with UNESCO World Heritage Centre (WHC), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the African World Heritage Fund (AWHF).

The workshop programme aims to build a strong network of Arab experts, that will contribute to assisting Arab countries, Advisory Bodies, and other bodies to effectively implement the 1972 World Heritage Convention. During the five days of the workshop, participants will be introduced to topics and themes related to the application of the World Heritage Convention to different types of sites in the Arab region, explore the tools of the Convention and the role of the Advisory Bodies in assisting Member States in its implementation. To increase cooperation between the Arab region and other geographical regions, ARC-WH invited the African World Heritage Fund (AWHF) to participate in the course. Participants presented case studies on site conservation processes and challenges from their countries. Participants will also visit the site of Philae temple complex in Aswan and then submit a report akin to the one submitted by the Advisory Bodies to UNESCO WHC.

The Arab region identified by UNESCO includes 19 Arab countries spanning North Africa, the Middle East and Asia. While this large area is home to 90 World Heritage sites, this figure falls short of reflecting the richness, and diversity of cultural and natural heritage sites in the region.