Underwater Cultural Heritage: new international cooperation programme by UNESCO

Underwater Cultural Heritage: new international cooperation programme by UNESCO

31 Maggio 2021 Off Di Direzione Rivista Siti Unesco

On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage, UNESCO is launching the largest ever international cooperation programme involving eight countries on both shores of the Mediterranean for the safeguarding of the underwater cultural heritage of the Skerki Banks. This is an exceptional archaeological site located in the north-western part of the Strait of Sicily, which has been frequented since antiquity by ships travelling the trade route between Rome and Carthage.

Underwater cultural heritage is the witness of millennia of our common memory. Hidden from view and protected beneath the surface of oceans, seas, lakes and rivers lies a priceless, largely unknown and underestimated heritage.

The famous Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau said, “we love what we marvel at, and we protect what we love’’. Yet underwater heritage is threatened by looting and commercial exploitation, industrial trawling, coastal development, and exploitation of natural resources and the seabed. It is also vulnerable to global warming, acidification, and water pollution.

In order to better protect, understand and promote this unique and fragile heritage, UNESCO’s General Conference adopted the Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage on 2 November 2001. 

Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, the Convention has become the global legal framework for the protection of underwater cultural heritage. It provides legal and practical tools for States and underwater heritage professionals to identify and ensure the proper safeguarding, management and transmission of this heritage to future generations. Its Rules concerning Activities directed at Underwater Cultural Heritage establish common principles in the field of underwater archaeology, scientific excavations and site management.

Over the past twenty years, the Convention’s achievements include:



Fonte. UNESCO.org