UNESCO Conference on Access to Underwater Cultural Heritage

Numerous underwater cultural heritage sites can be found in the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, ranging from prehistoric submerged landscape sites to more modern sites as for instance the impressive remains of the sea battles of the first and second World Wars. While the sites are of highest scientific interest, a clear difference is still made in their appreciation and the attention given to them when compared to terrestrial sites. The reason lies mainly in the gap in the access to the sites, the possibilities to research them or simply to enjoy them.

Underwater cultural heritage holds however a high potential for sustainable development of coastal regions. Today tourism and recreation is a higher factor for employment in coastal regions than the fishing industry. 37 % of tourism is motivated by cultural heritage. Thus making submerged heritage accessible constitutes immense chances for valorizing it, for using its scientific and educational value and for making the local communities benefit.

A scientific colloquium is thus organized on 9 June 2016 to allow for the exchange of experiences, to motivate new regional initiatives and to inspire new ways to make underwater cultural heritage accessible.

UNESCO Regional Meeting on Underwater Cultural Heritage

The colloquium is preceded by a UNESCO Regional Meeting for Northern European States to take place on 8 June an open to State representatives only. The regional meeting aims to promote the 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage and its scientific standards among UNESCO Member States. Furthermore it aspires to inform country representatives and cultural decision makers and will provide a forum for the exchange of national experiences.

The 2001 UNESCO Convention is an important international treaty, which ensures comprehensive protection of underwater cultural heritage through clear legal and operational rules, in addition to establishing a scientific work methodology in its Annex.

Dates: 8 June 2016 UNESCO Regional Meeting
9 June 2016 UNESCO Scientific Colloquium

Place: National Museum, Copenhagen, Denmark

Participants Colloquium: Experts, scientists, museum and tourism professionals

Participants Regional Meeting: Government Representatives only
A complementary conference excursion will be organized on the afternoon of 8 June and an official reception is offered on the evening of that same day.

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