United Nations General Assembly calls for ratification of UNESCO 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage
In its recent resolution A/RES/71/257 on Oceans and the Law of the Sea, adopted on 23 December 2016, the UN General Assembly emphasized that underwater archaeological, cultural and historical heritage, including shipwrecks and watercraft, holds essential information on the history of humankind and that such heritage is a resource that needs to be protected and preserved. It urged all States to cooperate, directly or through competent international bodies, in taking measures to protect and preserve it.
The UN General Assembly then called expressly to States that have not yet done so to become parties to the UNESCO 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage. It noted in particular the Rules annexed to the 2001 Convention, which provide scientific principles of management, conservation and protection of underwater cultural heritage.
Today, 55 States have already ratified the 2001 Convention. Underwater cultural heritage encompasses some of the most precious cultural sites that the world has to offer. The UNESCO 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage sets reliable scientific standards for all activities directed at this underwater cultural heritage and protects it from pillage and treasure hunt.
UNESCO proposes the inclusion of discussions on underwater cultural heritage in the upcoming conference on the implementation of SDG 14 in UN HQ in New York. UNESCO will organize events in the framework of this conference.
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