Home » ALIPH 2023 Forum in Abu Dhabi discusses protection of heritage

ALIPH 2023 Forum in Abu Dhabi discusses protection of heritage

by Dubaiforum

ABU DHABI, 9th March, 2023 (WAM) — The International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas (ALIPH) and the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) organised the ALIPH 2023 Forum in Abu Dhabi. More than 200 professionals from over 30 countries gathered on 6th-7th March to discuss the urgent need to protect cultural heritage in conflict and post-conflict areas, against the backdrop of recent earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria.

The forum was opened by the representatives of ALIPH’s co-founding countries; Mohamed Al Mubarak, Chairman of DCT Abu Dhabi and Vice-Chair of the ALIPH Foundation Board representing the UAE, and Bariza Khiari, Vice-Chair and representative of France to the same board. The event was closed by Salem Al Qassimi, the Minister of Culture and Youth of the United Arab Emirates and Chairman of the ALIPH Foundation Board, Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan.

Two key themes emerged from the Forum. Firstly, the pressing need to protect cultural heritage in conflict and post-conflict areas is still ahead, as demonstrated in recent crises in places such as Ukraine and the Caucasus. Secondly, the deleterious impact of climate change and natural disasters on cultural heritage should be better addressed.

The forum emphasized the need to develop concrete projects that promote sustainable development, on-the-job training, community engagement, traditional materials and know-how, environmentally friendly practices, and strengthening preventive measures, such as inventories of collections, 3D digitization, and rapid response mechanisms during a crisis. All these elements will be reinforced in ALIPH’s roadmap for the coming years.

Mohamed Al Mubarak said, “The UAE’s commitment to protect cultural heritage for future generations is a vision shared with our family of partners, donors and key players who support ALIPH’s capability and responsiveness to tackle heritage emergencies and bring reconciliation post-crisis. Six years after we began our mission in the UAE, we are proud to convene our partners for the first ALIPH forum to review our journey of supporting positive change and look ahead to the future.”

The ALIPH 2023 Forum brought together partners of the Foundation for the first time, demonstrating the extensive and diverse network of heritage professionals and supporters that ALIPH has gathered in just six years. Attendees included museums, libraries, cultural institutions, and international organizations such as UNESCO, ICCROM, ICOMOS, and Europa Nostra, as well as NGOs like the World Monuments Fund, Turquoise Mountain, Oeuvre d’Orient, and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. Local operators from countries including Afghanistan, Mali, Iraq, Niger, Ukraine, and Yemen also participated, with experts such as conservators, architects, archaeologists, and project managers all united in the common mission to protect cultural heritage.

According to Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan, Chairman of the ALIPH Foundation Board, the Forum highlighted the continued importance of protecting cultural heritage, given the resurgence of conflicts and increase in natural disasters worldwide. ALIPH, co-founded by the UAE and France in 2017, has financed nearly 180 projects to protect cultural heritage in conflict and post-conflict areas, as well as approximately 100 projects to help professionals in vulnerable countries during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020-2021 and 160 initiatives to safeguard cultural heritage in Ukraine last year.

The ALIPH 2023 Forum was held at the Cultural Foundation in Abu Dhabi, a modern heritage landmark that supports cross-cultural understanding and cultural diplomacy.

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