The new law issued by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, that covers the preservation of heritage in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, underlines the UAE’s abiding belief that when a nation charts out its development, heritage and culture must be the beacons to guide it forward. This interlocking of the past and the future forms the foundation of progress and national identity. The new law ensures that the priceless resource of heritage is duly identified, registered and protected by a mandated authority, which in this case is the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (ADTCA). All exploration endeavours will be conducted under its supervision and all artefacts found as a result will be the property of the emirate. The law also, among other things, stipulates that any artefact unintentionally discovered must be brought to the attention of the authorities within a specific time period, as should any artefact or heritage object, if seized or lost and found later. The latter aspect is of particular significance because it obviates the chances of such accidental finds straying from their rightful place in the national repository. Every piece of heritage, large or small or even a shred, is a crucial link in the country’s developing narrative and has an important story to tell. As such, these discoveries must be protected and preserved through a systematic process to create a truly valuable national treasury.
Another impressive aspect of the new law is to make place for the country’s heritage narrative in the school curriculums. To be coordinated by ADTCA with educational bodies, this move will lead to a deep-seated awareness of heritage among the younger generations which, over time, will transform into a timeless legacy.