The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Regional Office for Eastern Africa has launched a desk study and mapping on the current status of training and research on underwater cultural heritage in Africa.
It is understood that the strategy is part of the UNESCO project ‘Building Capacity and Raising Awareness for Underwater Cultural Heritage Research in Africa’, funded by the Japan Funds-in-Trust to UNESCO.
The underwater cultural heritage in Africa, according to UNESCO, is under serious threat from treasure hunters, uncontrolled industrial development, and lack of supervision.
‘This project aims to contribute to raising awareness of the importance of safeguarding Africa’s vulnerable underwater heritage, and encourage UNESCO member states to put in place sound policies for researching, managing and promoting underwater cultural heritage in the Africa region’, the UN agency said in a statement.
The study, which is being led by underwater archaeologist and UNESCO expert, Arturo Rey da Silva, will provide a basis for the preparation of a capacity building strategy for the underwater cultural heritage development related to the management and protection of the underwater cultural heritage undertaken in the African region.
UNESCO said a needs and capacities assessment will identify the main areas for training and educational activities required to achieve the observation of the international standards for underwater cultural heritage.
Photo source: Arturo REY DA SILVA / UNESCO