Convened by the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO), the Islamic World Heritage Committee (IWHC) held its 2nd Extraordinary Meeting via videoconferencing, to examine ways to protect and conserve heritage in the Islamic world, and train workers in this field amid the spread of Covid-19. The crisis has affected several vital sectors, most notably the cultural institutions, which have been closed to the public, particularly heritage sites and tourism destinations.
At the outset, the Committee considered the items placed on the agenda and hailed the initiative of holding its meeting via videoconferencing. It also called for adopting this mechanism whenever necessary and incorporating it in the Internal Regulations of IWHC and considered the challenges relevant to the management of heritage sites and museums during and after Covid-19 crisis as well as matters pertaining to the intangible heritage and the implementation of the relevant resolutions of the Conference of Culture Ministers in the Islamic World.
Besides, the Committee welcomed the establishment of the Islamic World Heritage Center and adopted its Organizational Chart while taking into account the remarks of its members and reaffirmed its commitment to support the Center’s activities, programmes and projects.
The Committee also recommended the adoption of the amended nomination form for the inscription of intangible heritage on the Islamic World Heritage List. It will take into account the remarks of its members, called upon the Secretariat of the Committee, to circulate the form to all Member States to prepare the files of the intangible heritage elements nominated for inscription on the Islamic World Heritage List.
Moreover, the Committee praised ICESCO’s swift adoption of the management of cultural activities through its website during Covid-19 crisis and the provision of distance training videos in the fields of tangible and intangible heritage. It also included the management of heritage sites and museums; and called for sustaining and promoting these efforts through the preparation of the strategic digital cultural project for heritage documentation and the establishment of the heritage platform in the Islamic world and virtual museums, as well as taking the necessary technical measures to design a digital portal for inscribing the heritage sites on the Islamic World Heritage List.
The Committee also called upon the Islamic World Heritage Center to prepare a guide on how to protect from destruction and sabotage heritage sites amid crises, disasters, and armed conflicts. Also, to complement this effort by establishing cooperation with UNESCO World Heritage Center through coordination with the ICESCO Member States representatives in the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. This move will serve the objectives of the IWHC and support the action of the regional and international organizations, bodies, and centers operating in the field of preserving heritage and monuments.
In addition, the Committee called upon the Secretariat of the Islamic World Heritage List to launch an awareness-raising campaign on ICESCO website and social media for the benefit of local communities, particularly youth, to highlight the importance of heritage in promoting the cultural and civilizational identity of nations and peoples, and the socio-economic development.