25.03.2019 - Culture Sector

Regional Meeting on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage in Panama

The regional meeting for Latin America and the Caribbean on the protection of underwater cultural heritage will be held from 25 to 27 March in Panama City, Panama

Since the adoption of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage in 2001, 20 countries of the Latin American and Caribbean region have become States Parties against the intense looting and commercial exploitation that has affected the region's submerged archaeological sites for decades, and that has destroyed many vestiges of the continent's history.

In this context, UNESCO has intensified its activities in the region. In 2013, UNESCO organized a regional meeting of Ministers of Culture on the safeguarding of underwater cultural heritage in Lima (Peru), approving the road map for the protection of underwater cultural heritage, taking into account the new challenges and needs identified in the region for the safeguarding of underwater cultural heritage.

This year, UNESCO will again hold a regional meeting on 25, 26 and 27 March 2019 in Panama City, Panama. The conference is held in collaboration with COIBA AIP, INAC, MIAMBIENTE, the National Secretariat for Science, Technology and Innovation of the Government of Panama and is supported by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID). Thanks to the continued support of AECID, UNESCO established a capacity-building programme for the region through several national and regional workshops that provided the necessary tools to implement the Convention at the technical level.

UNESCO's work in the region has three strategic objectives. First, to adopt national legislative frameworks that respect the principles of the Convention, facilitating national ratification and implementation of the Convention. Second, the need to build the capacities needed to identify, study, evaluate, protect and manage submerged archaeological sites has been one of the main objectives of UNESCO's activities in the region. Finally, the need for greater awareness of the different social and economic actors in society has led UNESCO and its partners and associates to carry out awareness-raising activities, actions and tools, progressively working with local and indigenous communities in the elaboration of national management plans.

On the basis of these objectives, the meeting will assess the follow-up undertaken by the States of the region in the Lima Declaration of 2013 by senior representatives of the national authorities responsible for the protection of underwater cultural heritage, in particular Ministers of Culture, Secretaries and Secretaries-General or Directors and Technical Directors.


See program of the event (in Spanish)

See 2001 Convention


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