11.04.2019 - Culture Sector

Moving the protection of underwater cultural heritage forward through regional cooperation in Latin America and the Caribbean

The Regional Meeting for the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage in Latin America and the Caribbean was held on 25, 26 and 27 March 2019 in Panama City, Panama. The Meeting was successfully carried out through the collaboration of UNESCO with COIBA-AIP, INAC, MiAMBIENTE, the National Secretariat of Science, Technology and Innovation of the Government of Panama and the valuable support of the AECID.

The regional meeting was attended by representatives and experts from 18 countries of the Latin American region: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela, as well as invited experts from Spain and Belgium.

The regional meeting focused mainly on the conservation of underwater cultural heritage, the fight against illicit trafficking, assistance and international cooperation through regional examples of research, safeguarding and dissemination. At the end of the meeting, recommendations were jointly established to follow up the activity and the effective implementation of the action plan of the Lima Ministerial Meeting in 2013.

In this context, emphasis will continue to be placed on supporting the ratification process in countries that have not yet ratified the 2001 UNESCO Convention or, if ratification has already been achieved, its full implementation will be reinforced. In addition, capacity-building and professional training in underwater archaeology, the creation of coherent employment opportunities in the region, the strengthening of education and the appropriate dissemination and visibility of underwater cultural heritage are expected with interest.

In addition, on the basis of the Recommendations, the participation of enterprises, NGOs and civil society in the protection of cultural heritage is expected and, at the same time, local tourism and sustainable development initiatives will be strengthened, including museums and tourist centres that allow better public knowledge and access to the subject in close contact with local communities.

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