09.07.2012 - UNESCO Office in Amman

Launch of the Petra Siq Stability Project in Italy

©UNESCO AmmanSignature Implementation Partnership Agreement UNESCO ISPRA

©Giuseppe Delmonaco

UNESCO Amman launches project for the stabilization of the Petra Siq

in Rome and signs the Implementation Partnership Agreement with the Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research

The role of international cooperation to enhance protection of Petra fragile archaeological and geological heritage, its better preservation and presentation was emphasized during the launching ceremony and signing agreement between UNESCO and the Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA) for the project “Siq Stability - Sustainable Monitoring Techniques for Assessing Instability of Slopes in the Siq of Petra, Jordan” which took place on July 9, 2012 at the Società Geografica Italiana at Villa Celimontana, in Rome, Italy.

Petra is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world, and Jordan’s most significant heritage site. However, Petra faces a wide diversity of risks, particularly from natural and geological hazards such as earthquakes, floods and landslides. The 1.2 km long Siq, serving as the only tourist entrance to the site, is especially fragile and needs to be addressed and monitored, in order to mitigate the risk of land slide and rock fall.

To address these issues, the Siq Stability project will document, monitor and identify unstable areas and slope sectors at risk in the Siq, and will carry out long-term monitoring of the slope and consolidation of selected areas. The project will also develop a GIS common platform for storing, analysis and management of data, as well as a 3D computerized model of the Siq and other selected structures, and an extensive and interactive virtual tour based on panorama photographs.

The project is funded by the Italian Government with USD 1 million. The Italian Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research has worldwide experience in the field of geological hazards applied to cultural heritage is one of the key implementing partners and having. Other partners include the Petra National Trust, a Jordanian NGO, Zamani Research Group (University of Cape Town), Petra Development and Tourism Regional Authority (PDTRA) and the Department of Antiquities of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in Jordan.

Introductory speeches by the representative of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the counselor of the Jordan Embassy in Rome, stressed on the role of international cooperation between Italy and Jordan in the making of this project. Anna Paolini, Head of the UNESCO Office in Amman presented the overall structure of the project and UNESCO’s work in Petra while the director of the Petra Archaeological Park brought to the attention Petra’s fragile environment. This was followed by a presentation of a representative of the Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research who outlined the project outcomes in terms of application of a monitoring system for different geomorphological settings in the Siq and guidelines for sustainable landslides mitigation strategies. Finally an insight on web-based database systems for the inventory of archaeological heritage in Jordan was provided by Gaetano Palumbo from the World Monument Fund.

The seminar session was concluded by a signing ceremony of the Implementation Partnership Agreement, an agreement of cooperation between UNESCO and not for profit institutional entities, by the UNESCO Office in Amman and the Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research in the presence of concerned Italian authorities, the counselor of the Jordan Embassy in Rome.

For further information please contact Giorgia Cesaro, g.cesaro(at)unesco.org

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