29.07.2020 - Culture Sector

The Sultanate of Oman ratifies UNESCO’s 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage

Coast of Sur, Oman. Copyright: By Dan Soley - Own work by Dan Soley, CC BY-SA 3.0

Oman is working to protect its vast and invaluable underwater cultural heritage, which lies on the seabed of the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman, against exploitation and looting. Implementation of the 2001 Convention supports the development of strategies to protect and to harness the potential of this unique heritage for national and regional socio-economic development.

Following its many years of demonstrated leadership in underwater archaeology and heritage, the Sultanate of Oman is the newest country to ratify the 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage. This brings Oman into an international legal and cooperative framework to not only share best practices in protecting this heritage but to advance its utilization for sustainable cultural tourism and economic development as well.

 

Underwater cultural heritage includes “all traces of human existence having a cultural, historical or archaeological character, which have been partially or totally under water, periodically or continuously, for at least 100 years”, such as historic shipwrecks and sunken cities. It is increasingly subject to treasure hunting, pillage, industrial damage and destruction. The 2001 Convention aims at harmonizing its protection with the one accorded to cultural heritage on land. It is compatible with the 1982 Law of the Sea (UNCLOS Articles 149 and 303).

 

The Sultanate of Oman is the 64nd State Party and the 12th Arab State to ratify the 2001 Convention.




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