Donors including the UAE have pledged financial support for the protection of endangered cultural heritage across the world. This was announced at a donors’ conference held in Paris to mark the establishment of the International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas (Aliph).
The Aliph is a foundation that will finance projects for the implementation of preventive, emergency protection, conservation and restoration programmes for cultural property endangered due to armed conflict.
Shaikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, and French President Francois Hollande co-chaired the donor’s conference at the Louvre Museum. The event follows the International Conference on Safeguarding Endangered Cultural Heritage in Conflict Areas held in Abu Dhabi on December 2 and 3, 2016.
Shaikh Saif announced that the UAE would make a financial contribution of $15 million (Dh55 million) to Aliph. All countries, foundations and private donors in attendance pledged a total of more than $75 million (Dh 275 million) to the fund.
Additionally, France pledged $30 million, Saudi Arabia $20 million, Kuwait $5 million dollars, Luxembourg 3 million euros, Morocco $1.5 million and a private donation of $1 million came from Thomas Kaplan. Morocco also announced it would join the network of safe havens for endangered cultural heritage.
Shaikh Saif said at the conference that on behalf of the UAE leaders he was honoured to witness the establishment of the Aliph.
“Since the Abu Dhabi conference, we have made huge strides towards the development of a robust strategy to ensure that the catastrophic destruction of priceless cultural artefacts are preserved for future generations. It is a great achievement to see that the strategies set out in the Abu Dhabi Declaration materialise as impactful and sustainable means to safeguard cultural resources,” Shaikh Saif said.
In the Abu Dhabi Declaration adopted by the December 2016 conference in Abu Dhabi, the international community had pledged to create an international fund to protect cultural heritage and develop an international refuge network for endangered cultural property.
Italy announced its commitment to continue the work of its task force to train police, curators and restorers and its determination in bringing a resolution forward, with France, in the UN Security Council. Germany pledged expertise to mobilising the fund and Switzerland pledged its support in enabling Aliph’s establishment in Switzerland as a humanitarian endeavour. Mexico announced their commitment to investigating further support from countries in North and South America, as well as possibilities of creating safe havens. China also unveiled that it would be the first Asian country to respond to the call of the Abu Dhabi Declaration and make the China National Museum a safe haven to temporarily host endangered material culture in conflict zones from across the world.