Culture and the Arab States of the Gulf
Cultural Heritage is very rich and varied in the Gulf Region. It consists of tangible, both natural and cultural, and intangible resources and incorporates archaeological sites, historic buildings, cultural and natural landscapes (ancient oases, settlements, etc…), ethnographic and historic collections, as well as an important traditional folklore.
This rich cultural heritage, which reflects living culture rather than the ossified image of the past, has a major role to play in improving and inspiring people’s lives, in upgrading the quality of the living environment and in providing the resources for economic and cultural development. It is an important element of awareness, planning and construction, as well as sustainability and progress, especially on account of the growth of tourism which in many countries of the Gulf region constitutes an important source of income and employment.
However, one should not forget that cultural heritage is a non renewable resource, once it is lost, it is lost forever. It shall therefore be protected through awareness raising, the enforcement of legal instruments, the spread of knowledge and values, the elaboration of documentation and inventories, and the improvement of capacity building at local levels in order to create self-sustainable means to manage, protect and enhance the existing culture and heritage.
In different Gulf countries, several activities have been or are being implemented in cooperation between UNESCO and authorities concerned in this Region, targeting for instance the preservation of traditional crafts, their promotion, the launching of programmes for the recognition of crafts’ products and craftsmen or women, the establishment of prizes for literature or others, the organization of a workshops about the role of museums nowadays, the preservation of collections, or the preparation of information sessions and trainings about World Heritage or museums and collections’ issues.
The most important and necessary element is to ensure the interaction and harmony between national policies and implementation plans and strategies, in order to achieve our goals for the protection, preservation, rehabilitation and promotion of this Region’s rich cultural heritage.
Contacts at the Doha Field Office
For additional information regarding Culture, please visit UNESCO's Culture Sector web site.