Culture Under Threat conference (II)

According to the Antiquities Coalition website: (text reproduced below)

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Antiquities Coalition, and Middle East Institute hosted the second annual Culture Under Threat Regional Conference in Amman on 8 September 2016.

Part of a continuing global initiative, this Ministerial summit brought together ministers from 17 Arab League nations, hosted by Jordanian Deputy Prime Minister Nasser Judeh. These regional leaders coordinated actions to fight against the security, economic, and cultural crisis now facing the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

As part of the event, the Governments of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Arab Republic of Egypt, Islamic Republic of Mauritania, Kingdom of Bahrain, Kingdom of Morocco, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Lebanese Republic, the Palestinian Authority, Republic of Iraq, Republic of Sudan, Republic of Tunisia, Republic of Yemen, State of Kuwait, State of Libya, State of Qatar, Sultanate of Oman, and United Arab Emirates all signed the Amman Communique (pdf here – Amman-Communique-EN-Final).. The League of Arab States also participated in the conference.

In addition, the the Middle East and North African Task Force Against Cultural Racketeering, consisting of government representatives from each country, held its inaugural meeting to finalize an action plan for 2016-2017 on specific actions to be taken in this fight.

1. Develop capacity building programs
2. Explore bilateral Cultural Memoranda of Understanding and strengthen regional collaboration
3. Establish information sharing mechanisms
4. Raise awareness about cultural racketeering’s impact on global economics and security
5. Launch jobs initiatives at heritage sites

This historic event builds upon the 2015 Cairo Conference which brought together Ministers of Antiquities, Culture, Tourism, and Foreign Affairs from ten key governments in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO and Nail al-Araby, Secretary General of the Arab League. Leading international experts – including archaeologists, business leaders, former military officials, lawyers, and experts in counter-terrorism, law enforcement, and security – also came from around the world to participate. This audience of decision-makers and specialists presented an unprecedented opportunity to develop regional solutions against cultural cleansing and cultural racketeering, in keeping with the Antiquities Coalition’s mission of safeguarding our shared cultural heritage.

At the end of the conference, the ten participating countries issued the historic Cairo Declaration, denouncing the “blood antiquities” trade and announcing a regional “action plan” to stop terrorist financing through cultural racketeering. Work is already underway to fulfill the declaration’s goals. Please visit our website for updates on recent activity.

The Cairo Conference and Declaration were reinforced by a special high level forum during the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015. We are proud to have returned to the Middle East to continue this important work.