UAE and ICCROM sign Headquarters Agreement

Abu Dhabi, 27th October, 2015 (WAM) – The Government of the United Arab Emirates and ICCROM (International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property), based in Rome and established by UNESCO in 1956, signed a Headquarters Agreement which lays the foundation for the establishment and operation of the ICCROM-ATHAR Regional Conservation Centre in Sharjah.
This agreement confers upon the regional centre its legal status, enabling it to execute its functions and achieve its objectives as an intergovernmental institution in the UAE. From its location in Sharjah, ICCROM-ATHAR will pursue ICCROM’s objectives, essentially including the conservation of cultural heritage in the Arab region, and the facilitation of the protection of endangered cultural heritage in the region. Moreover, the centre will address through its activities the need to raise awareness of the importance of cultural heritage in the Arab states, as well as contribute to the development of national policies with regards to the conservation and management of cultural heritage, capacity building, outreach, and dissemination of information relevant to cultural heritage and its role in socio-economic development, as well as the publication of scientific material and technical manuals for professionals working in this field.
Signing the Agreement from the UAE was Dr. Addelrahman Al Awadi, Assistant Foreign Minister for Legal Affairs, and Dr.
Stefano De Caro, Director General of ICCROM. Present at the signing was Mohammed Khamis Al Muhairi, Director General of the National Council of Tourism and Antiquities, Abdul Aziz Al Mussalam, Head of Sharjah Heritage Institute, and Manal Ataya, Director General of Sharjah Museums Department, and Dr. Zaki Aslan, Director of ICCROM-ATHAR and Sadiq Mohammed Abu Sneineh, Legal Aiser, and Mr. Issa Saif bin Handal, as representatives from the Office of HH Ruler of Sharjah.
This Agreement stipulates the immunities and privileges granted to the regional centre. It also refers to the ongoing cooperation between the Government of UAE and ICCROM in the implementation of national capacity building and training. This agreement follows the adhesion of the United Arab Emirates to ICCROM in 2010, as well as the announcement made at the conference of the Arab Ministers of Culture in Doha in 2010. It is with exerted gratitude to HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and his generous support since 2008, that ICCROM-ATHAR has been working towards achieving its vision to promote cultural heritage in the region from its newly established premises in Sharjah. Furthermore, ICCROM-ATHAR has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with UAE’s Federal Government through the National Council for Tourism and Antiquities in 2011. The long-standing cooperation between UAE and ICCROM has addressed several fields, such as the preparation of the tentative list for World Heritage Sites in the UAE, restoration of archeological buildings and sites in Sharjah and Umm Al Qaiwain, as well as the implementation of training courses in which professionals from the different Emirates have participated. It is worth noting that the United Arab Emirates has had a remarkable role in ICCROM’s Biennial General Assembly, and will be represented at this year’s General Assembly event taking place in November in Rome.