Posted: Sat Dec 03, 2016 7:11 pm Post subject: Aga Khan at the 45th UAE National Day Anniversary
[b]2 Dec 2016 - H.H. The Aga Khan at the 45th UAE National Day Anniversary Abu Dhabi. He also attended the opening of the Louvre Museum in Abu Dhabi and the Conference on Safeguarding Endangered Cultural Heritage.
Safeguarding Cultural Heritage conference kicks off in Abu Dhabi
Mohammed Al Mubarak, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture, speaks during the opening remarks of the international conference for the safeguarding of cultural heritage in conflict areas at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi on Friday. Christopher Pike / The National
Safeguarding Cultural Heritage conference kicks off in Abu Dhabi
Naser Al Wasmi
December 2, 2016 Updated: December 4, 2016 08:13 AM
ABU DHABI // "Building nations is not complete without safeguarding heritage," Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed told the Safeguarding Cultural Heritage Conference in the capital on Friday.
The deputy chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council was addressing the first day of the conference, where attendees heard reports of past atrocities as a prompt to forging meaningful outcomes for the future.
​The conference concludes Saturday, with the adoption of the Abu Dhabi Declaration in support of Unesco’s global mandate to protect cultural heritage during armed conflicts.
The mandate will define practical and sustainable means to safeguard cultural resources, as well as create a network of safe havens for threatened heritage.
French president Francois Hollande said France and the UAE, in partnership with Unesco, wanted to organise a major conference on the protection of endangered heritage, and that the preservation of world heritage was part of a battle led by the two countries against terror and extremism.
"I am proud that our two countries are behind this important initiative for the region and for the world," Mr Hollande told Aletihad newspaper, the Arabic-language sister daily of The National.
"Our common goal is to get concrete commitments to protect the world’s cultural heritage in places exposed to danger by extremism and barbarism, as is the case in Palmyra, Nimrod and Timbuktu. It comes to preserving the traces of the past in our cultures so that we can build the future," Mr Hollande said.
"This work is part of the battle led by France and the United Arab Emirates against obscurantism, for openness and culture. It is also the reason for the creation of the Louvre Abu Dhabi. This great French-Emirati project that will yield the opening next year of the world’s first international museum in the Arab world," he said.
The conference heard that the destruction of cultural heritage was not only collateral damage from conflict, but also a constant threat even during times of peace.
"Unfortunately, we see the illicit trafficking of items even without conflict, but in times of conflict we see, I would say, disastrous proportions of rooting and trafficking," said Irini Bokova, director-general of Unesco. "I would argue that it is recognised that the illicit trafficking of objects abroad from Syria is one of the ways of financing extremism, on that basis and on other decisions, we have established a platform."
Three speakers, Azedine Beschaouch, former minister of culture of Tunisia, Dr Samuel Sidibe, director of the national museum of Mali, and Dr Mounir Bouchenaki, a cultural heritage expert, shared their experience in protecting and conserving heritage affected by conflict in Cambodia, Mali and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Last year two gunmen held museum visitors hostage in the Bardo National Museum attack in Tunisia, which resulted in 22 deaths along with the destruction of items in the museum.
In Mali this year, a local extremist destroyed historic mausoleums in Timbuktu and was sentenced in the Hague for committing a war crime.
Mohammed Al Mubarak, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Tourist Cultural Authority, said that although several attacks had happened in the region and the loss of history was at times irreplaceable, that work could be done.
"It is never too late. The Middle East and South Asia region has been a cultural burning platform for a while now – from the looting of the Egyptian museum at the start of the Arab Spring to the dynamiting of the Buddhas of Bamiyan, cultural genocide has been rampant in the region," he said.
" The immediate humanitarian concerns had to take precedence and once we had established processes for these, we mobilised forces to protect national heritage as a way of preserving the identity of these countries in conflict," he said.
Dr Bouchenaki’s work, however, involved several attempts at conserving heritage around the world and sometimes preserving it.
"It is on the basis of such a gathering to prepare a strategy because the work is immense, a lot has been lost but there is always something to be recuperated," Dr Bouchenaki said.
Although each speaker noted the deliberate destruction of cultural heritage sites in their respective countries, much of what was lost was driven by the illicit trade of antiquities on the black market.
Work with the Abu Dhabi Declaration will focus on that.
The conference is structured into panel discussions and presentations, giving first-hand accounts from international cultural experts on the successes and challenges in overcoming difficult situations faced in the protection and conservation of cultural heritage in conflict zones.
The panels also aim to set the stage for further discussions of the proposed strategies of the global initiative proposed by the UAE and France.
Last edited by Admin on Sat Dec 03, 2016 7:15 pm, edited 1 time in total
Abu Dhabi Declaration reaffirms global common determination to safeguard world cultural heritage
03/12/2016 06:16:01 PM
ABU DHABI, 3rd December, 2016 (WAM)-- Heads of states and governments and representatives of international organisations and private institutions on Saturday reaffirmed their common determination to safeguard the endangered cultural heritage of all peoples, against its destruction and illicit trafficking, and pledged to act against terrorists and extremists attacking cultural diversity that is "a source of collective wealth that encourages dialogue."
"We have decided to collectively join forces. Today, armed conflicts and terrorism, across all continents are affecting millions of men and women, without sparing their centuries-old heritage. Extremists violently - and often deliberately - attack the cultures of the countries of the people they devastate, seeking to destroy the heritage which belongs to us all," the leaders said in the Abu Dhabi Declaration, issued at the conclusion of the two-day Safeguarding Endangered Cultural Heritage conference in UAE capital.
The conference is a joint initiative Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and French President Francois Hollande. It supports the global mandate of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation,UNESCO, to protect cultural heritage during armed conflicts.
The leaders pledged to pursue two ambitious, long-term goals to guarantee the further mobilisation of the international community for the safeguarding of heritage.
These include the creation of an international fund for the protection of endangered cultural heritage in armed conflict, and the creation of an international network of safe havens to temporarily safeguard cultural property endangered by armed conflicts or terrorism on their own territory.
The Declaration stressed that world cultural heritage represents the foundation of humanity's common future and is "a mirror of mankind, a guardian of our collective memory and a witness to the extraordinary creative spirit of humanity."
"Threatening, attacking, destroying, and looting heritage represents a strategy to weaken the very foundations of the identity of peoples, their history, and the environment in which they build their lives. Without this heritage, their memory is erased and their future is compromised," the Declaration said.
A number of foreign heads of states, prime ministers, dignitaries, experts and government representatives from more than 40 states attended the session along with H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, President Hollande, Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, and UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
These included H.H. Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, Amir of Kuwait; Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi; Afghan President Ashraf Ghani; Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita; Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord of Libya Fayez al-Sarraj; Senegalese Prime Minister Mohammed Abdallah Dionne; Denis Zvizdic, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina; Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras; Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn; Prince Khalid Al-Faisal, Governor of Makkah Province, Saudi Arabia; Sheikh Nasser bin Isa Al Khalifa, son of the King of Bahrain; Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Representative of the Emir of Qatar; Omani Minister of Foreign Affairs Yousuf bin Alawi; Head of the Moroccan Counsellors' Council Hakim bin Shammas; Prince Aga Khan, head of the Ismailis.
A number of sheikhs and senior officials from the UAE also attended the closing session.
The following is the full text of the Abu Dhabi Declaration, issued at the conclusion of the Safeguarding Endangered Cultural Heritage conference: "As a mirror of mankind, a guardian of our collective memory and a witness to the extraordinary creative spirit of humanity, world cultural heritage represents the foundation of our common future.
Today, armed conflicts and terrorism, across all continents are affecting millions of men and women, without sparing their centuries-old heritage. Extremists violently - and often deliberately - attack the cultures of the countries of the people they devastate, seeking to destroy the heritage which belongs to us all.
Threatening, attacking, destroying, and looting heritage represents a strategy to weaken the very foundations of the identity of peoples, their history, and the environment in which they build their lives. Without this heritage, their memory is erased and their future is compromised.
Heritage, in all its diversity, is a source of collective wealth that encourages dialogue. It is a vehicle for closer relations, tolerance, freedom, and respect. Its destruction is a threat to peace, as is the illicit trafficking of cultural property that often emerges in times of crisis.
Therefore, as Heads of States and Governments, and their Representatives, International Organisations and Private Institutions, we are gathered here, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, to reaffirm our common determination to safeguard the endangered cultural heritage of all peoples, against its destruction and illicit trafficking. We have decided to collectively join forces.
We commend the call made by the Director-General of UNESCO and express support for the Global Coalition "Unite for Heritage," launched to protect our shared heritage from destruction and trafficking. We welcome the "Strategy for the Reinforcement of UNESCO’s Actions for the Protection of Culture and Promotion of Cultural Pluralism in the Event of Armed Conflict."
We need to ensure respect for universal values, in line with the international conventions of The Hague of 1899, 1907, 1954, and the latter 1954 and 1999 Protocols, which require us to protect human life, as well as cultural property in times of armed conflict. This process has to be carried out in close liaison with UNESCO, which has worked tirelessly since 1954 to protect heritage, to combat illicit trafficking, and to promote culture as an instrument to bring people closer together and foster dialogue.
In the spirit of universality and the principles of the UNESCO conventions, we are committed to pursuing two ambitious, long term, goals to guarantee the further mobilisation of the international community for the safeguarding of heritage: - The creation of an international fund for the protection of endangered cultural heritage in armed conflict, which would help finance preventive and emergency operations, fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural artefacts, as well as contribute to the restoration of damaged cultural property.
- The creation of an international network of safe havens to temporarily safeguard cultural property endangered by armed conflicts or terrorism on their own territory, or if they cannot be secured at a national level, in a neighbouring country, or as a last resort, in another country, in accordance with international law at the request of the governments concerned, and taking into account the national and regional characteristics and contexts of cultural property to be protected.
At this conference, we, as Heads of States and Governments, and their Representatives, International Organisations and Private Institutions unite for heritage in support of international efforts to safeguard cultural heritage threatened by armed conflicts and terrorism. A follow up conference in 2017 will help assess the implementation of the initiatives launched in Abu Dhabi and the first projects financed by the international fund.
We recognise the eminent role of the United Nations and its institutions, and particularly of UNESCO, as the only UN organisation mandated for the protection of culture, and call upon the United Nations Security Council to support us in achieving these goals, in full accordance with the United Nations Charter."
Other foreign officials who attended the celebration include Tengku Abdullah ibni Sultan Ahmad Shah, Crown Prince of Pahang, Malaysia; Moulay Rachid, brother of King Mohammed VI of Morocco; Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Representative of the King of Bahrain for Charity Works and Youth Affairs, and Prince Aga Khan, Leader of the Ismailis.
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