THE SECOND INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON: « ROLE AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENTS IN THE PROTECTION AND ENHANCEMENT OF CULTURAL HERITAGE »
On April 18 of each year, the International Community celebrates the International Day of Monuments and Sites, established by International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) in 1982 and approved by the 22nd General Conference of UNESCO in 1983. This celebration is an opportunity for the various actors and stakeholders involved in the protection and promotion of cultural heritage to raise awareness of the importance of monuments and sites and cultural heritage in general, whether material or immaterial.
As part of their Strategic Partnership, capitalizing on the success of the Conference held on April 18, 2018 at ISESCO Headquarters, and with the support, participation and mobilization of their respective Partners, ISESCO and UCLG Africa have decided to celebrate again the Day of April 18, by organizing an International Conference on April 18 and 19, 2019 in Rabat.
The organization of this conference is strengthened and reinforced by the proclamation of the year 2019, “Year of Cultural Heritage in the Islamic World” by ISESCO. This proclamation reflects the growing interest in the protection, preservation, enhancement and promotion of cultural heritage at the present time. Indeed, a general awareness seems to be building around the important role played by Cultural Heritage as an inheritance and social construct in the lives of individuals and communities. As defined by UNESCO, “Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations”. It is all material goods (monuments, sites, architectural works, engravings, various instruments …) and immaterial (songs, dances, music, proverbs, different forms of oral and written expressions, or cultural practices …) which have a historical, artistic or scientific character.
Cultural Heritage is also a fundamental lever of human life that not only contributes to the promotion of peace, stability, continuity and harmony in human societies, but it is above all a strategic opportunity for promoting a shared and sustainable economic growth, within the meaning of Sustainable Development Goal 8, Target 8.9. which states: « by 2030 devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism which creates jobs, promotes local culture and products ».
It is therefore right that UNESCO sees Culture as a cross-cutting dimension in the 2030 Global Agenda on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In addition, culture and cultural heritage are the subject of an important global commitment through the various Global Agendas (the SDGs, the New Urban Agenda, the Climate Agenda, the Sendai Framework) and the Agenda 21 on Culture of UCLG, as well as on the continental level (the African Union’s Vision 2063, with a strong identity, a common heritage and shared values and ethics, the African Charter for Cultural Renaissance adopted at Khartoum, January 24, 2006). Africa and the Arab-Muslim world also have an important cultural heritage as unique and rich as diverse. The fact remains that this cultural heritage continues to face significant challenges, weaknesses that are at the extreme structural and represent serious threats.
This is the case for the implementation and transposition of global instruments and commitments at the level of public policies and national legislation (harmonization), the situation of underdevelopment, lack of vision, strategies, policies, plans and resources, lack of infrastructure and equipment, insecurity, hygienic and health conditions, the low level of education, lack of knowledge and communication on Heritage Sites. As for the threats, we can mention crises, wars, conflicts, terrorism, political instability, the difficulty of anchoring democracy, good governance and respect for human rights, the vulnerability of cultures infrastructure and equipment, illicit trafficking in cultural property, uncontrolled exploitation of natural resources, vandalism and the destruction of heritage sites, crime rates, the effects of rampant urbanization, migration, rural exodus and brain drain, climate change (floods, drought …), new forms of neo-colonialism, lack of skills in culture, heritage and tourism sectors.