UNESCO Chair network central to Archaeomap’s future

After four years, the Archaeomap project – for Archaeological Management Policies – wound up in November 2011 with the adoption of an action plan for the Mediterranean region. The plan makes provisions for the continued exchange of information among participating universities and for training civil servants and public authorities in governance to promote sustainable development of Mediterranean Region.

At the project’s final meeting November 2011, UNESCO and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM) inaugurated a UNESCO Chair for sustainable development and territorial management at the University of Turin (Italy). The Chair joined a network that UNESCO plans to establish in partnership with the Community of Mediterranean Universities, an NGO affiliated to UNESCO.

A Mediterranean Task force within the UNESCO Chair network and several international organizations will be responsible for developing North-South-South cooperation in the Mediterranean region. An international steering committee will promote high-level interdisciplinary and scientific training in governance to promote sustainable development in the Mediterranean Region; the committee will also organize an annual forum to providing the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM) with technical assistance and reinforce academic exchanges among member countries.

The Archaeomap project first germinated in 2005 when UNESCO was invited to support a regional action plan for the sustainable development of the Mediterranean’s marine heritage. UNESCO was asked to set up an international committee to coordinate the elaboration of integrated science policies for the Mediterranean’s coastal zone. The aim was to develop a common policy framework for sustainable development of the zone to preserve its natural, cultural and underwater heritage. The European Commission allocated 480,000 euros to the project.

Between 2008 and 2010, the archaeological treasures of ten pilot sites were studied by a network of specialists from around the Mediterranean Basin: the Aegadian Islands off the northwest coast of Sicily and the Sinis Peninsula on the west coast of the island of Sardinia (both in Italy); the island of Pharos in Alexandria (Egypt); Gibraltar (UK); Empuria on Spain’s Costa Brava; the town of Villefranche-sur-Mer (France); Salonika Bay (Greece); the island state of Malta; and the Phoencian cities of Carthage (Tunisia) and Tyr (Lebanon). Three of the ten pilot sites were World Heritage properties.

The experts contributing to Archaeomap have produced audiovisual lessons in various languages on such topics as archaeological sites of the island of Pharos in Alexandria; an introduction to the Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage, geohazards, governance to sustainable development of Mediterranean Region; or how to prioritize conservation for submerged and coastal sites.

The aim is to develop an itinerant school that would be financed at least partially by the European Commission. In February 2012, the Community of Mediterranean Universities, UNESCO and PAM submitted a project proposal to the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument, for which cross-border North-South cooperation to foster sustainable development in the Mediterranean region is a priority.

For details, contact the Scientific Coordinator at UNESCO, Salvatore Alessandro Giannino

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