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    ICESCO launches an initiative to establish a fund for safeguarding heritage sites and museums from climate change

    12 November 2022

    The Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO), in partnership with the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, on Friday 11 November 2022, in Sharm El-Sheikh, launched an initiative to establish a fund for safeguarding heritage sites and museums in Egypt and the Islamic world from the effects of climate change.

    The launch of this initiative saw the participation of high-level figures, including HRH Princess Dana Firas, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Cultural Heritage, President of the Petra National Trust (PNT) in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Dr. Ayman Ashour, Egyptian Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Chairman of the Egyptian National Commission for Education Science and Culture, as well as Dr. Mostafa Waziri, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, and Dr. Mohamed Bayoumi, Deputy Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Head of the Climate Change Team, in addition to a large number of COP 27 leaders from around the world.In his address, Dr. Salim M. AlMalik, Director-General of ICESCO, pointed out that climate change and its impacts have become one of the major challenges facing humanity, adding that the world is witnessing new phenomena related to climate change that threaten plans and policies and contradicts anticipations and aspirations.

    Dr. AlMalik underscored that climate change has become a tangible threat to human heritage, stating that it has caused damage to about 33% of the world’s natural heritage and about 31 cultural heritage sites in 29 countries, a number which is expected to increase due to the acceleration of these changes.

    The Director-General explained that ICESCO’s initiative, launched in cooperation with the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, reaffirms the Organization’s commitment and efforts with Member States in establishing effective partnerships to better anticipate the future, based on common visions and the spirit of sharing.For his part, Dr. Ayman Ashour stressed that this initiative represents a real translation of the recommendations into a tangible reality and that the related programmes will contribute to the protection of heritage sites against climate change damage. He added that this initiative reaffirms the commitment of Egypt in the fight against climate change in accordance with international standards given their great importance for humanity. He also commended ICESCO’s efforts in protecting the heritage of its Member States through the inscription of historical sites and heritage items on its Islamic World Heritage List.

    Dr. Mostafa Waziri emphasized the role played by ancient Egypt in facing environmental challenges, most notably flood barriers and torrents. He called for a better understanding of the heritage and history of civilizations in order to learn from the experiences of ancient civilizations in adapting to unexpected climate change.

    For his part, Dr. Mohamed Bayoumi stressed the need to protect heritage areas from the effects of climate and sea level rise, despite the high cost of their protection, the goal is to preserve the world’s heritage from disappearance.

    It should be noted that the establishment of this Fund aims to study the impact of climate change on heritage sites and museums to provide the necessary funding for the development of plans for their protection, encourage ICESCO Member States to adopt green transition initiatives and use clean energy in heritage sites and museums, to preserve the heritage environment and face the challenges that heritage and actors in this field are facing because of climate change.

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