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Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage in Nicaragua

Towards the ratification of the 2001 UNESCO Convention

Authorities from various institutions directly or indirectly related to the protection of Nicaragua's cultural heritage participated in a workshop organised by UNESCO to promote the ratification of the 2001 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage. The objective of the workshop was to raise awareness of the importance and benefits of ratifying the Convention for the protection of the country's underwater cultural heritage.

The workshop gathered several national institutions, which reflects the inter-ministerial nature of the matter. The activity was attended by Mrs. Sumaya Castillo, Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources and her team, the Architect Luis Morales Alonso, Co-Director General of the Nicaraguan Institute of Culture (INC) and his team, members of the National Assembly, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, the Nicaraguan Institute of Fisheries, the Nicaraguan Army, and the Nicaraguan Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO. The workshop consisted of a series of presentations by UNESCO cultural heritage specialists and included a question-and-answer session with a legal expert on underwater cultural heritage.

By helping to generate scientific evidence of the relationship between human beings and bodies of water, the 2001 Convention inspires mobilization to combat climate change. The conservation of cultural heritage, hand in hand with the conservation of natural heritage, provide great opportunities for job creation, the development of sustainable cultural tourism and the Blue economy.
Lazare Eloundou Assomo, Secretary of the 2001 Convention
Our country has a large number of volcanic lagoons that bring life to our people. We have a strong commitment with the protection of these bodies of water, not only as our natural heritage, but also because of what they provide us terms of culture. Our villages, our coastal cities, the men and women who inhabit them, are blessed because they have life, they have water, they have food. For us, it is a great commitment to participate in this workshop to continue learning more about this Convention.
Luis Morales Alonso, General Director of the Nicaraguan Institute of Culture

The 2001 Convention establishes basic principles and commonly recognised practices for the treatment and investigation of archaeological remains completely or partially submerged. This heritage is not only a testimony to the history of peoples and the construction of their identities: it is also an essential resource for the design of policies and opportunities for economic growth, as well as for achieving the Goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

However, in Nicaragua, as in many countries, underwater cultural heritage is threatened by the aggressive exploitation of marine resources and the destructive practice of treasure hunters, among other dangers. UNESCO urges Member States to equip themselves with the legal instruments and specialised human resources to address these threats and to harness the full potential of underwater cultural heritage for the benefit of sustainable development.