Panama promotes the protection of underwater cultural heritage
Through a virtual awareness-raising workshop, held between November 12 and 13, the UNESCO Cluster Office in San José and the Ministry of Culture of Panama have addressed cultural institutions, communities, cultural professionals and the general public to raise awareness about the importance of underwater cultural heritage and the benefits of its protection and enhancement. The workshop consisted of a series of presentations by international experts in underwater archeology and professionals from institutions in charge of its protection and management. The activity focused on providing participants with a clear idea about the need to protect submerged cultural heritage, and the contribution that each person and sector can make to achieve it.
The workshop was an occasion to learn about the main challenges of the conservation of a wide variety of submerged elements that compose the underwater cultural heritage of Panama. The workshop highlighted the importance of this type of heritage in the knowledge of the prehistoric and pre-Hispanic past of Panama, as a witness to the formation of the current reality of the country, as well as its role in relation to 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The underwater cultural heritage is of great importance to Panama, whose history cannot be separated from the two oceans that come together in its lands. Since the adoption of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage in 2001, UNESCO has supported Panama in the remarkable efforts that the country has made to train experts in this field. In addition, Panama City hosted the Regional Meeting for Latin America and the Caribbean on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage, held in March 2019, which established guidelines and recommendations for the safeguarding of this heritage in the countries of the region.
2021 will mark the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage. This type of heritage is composed of all traces of human existence that have a cultural, historical or archaeological character, that have been partially or totally under water for at least 100 years.