Arabnews24.ca:Wednesday 7 December 2022 10:39 AM: The activities of the Ancient Civilisations Forum, in its sixth edition, were concluded in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, with the participation of an Egyptian delegation headed by Dr Nevine el-Kilani, the Egyptian Minister of Culture.
Dr Nevin el-Kilani, said “During our participation in the forum, we were keen to emphasise that protecting cultural property against the acts of illegal trafficking is a top priority for Egypt, stressing the need to intensify co-operation on the international level in this regard.”
She also noted that cultural property is not just evidence of what civilisations have achieved, but it is also a reflection of the history and a memory of our ancient societies. In addition, it forms an integral part of our cultural and national identity that must be respected and must be returned to their countries of origin.
Moreover, the Minister said that the phenomenon of illegal trafficking of cultural property has reached a dangerous level in the past years as a result of stealing many heritage sites, looting and illegal excavations.
She stressed that the negative impacts of this phenomenon are not limited to the countries of the Forum of Ancient Civilisations only, but also extend to the whole world, including the countries in which our stolen heritage is sold, threatening international peace and security.
For several years, the international community has been aware of the close relationship between the financial returns of this criminal phenomenon and the financing of terrorist groups.
In the recommendations of the forum, Egypt stressed the need to discuss the issues of illegal trafficking of cultural property and the ways to stop all the acts related to them.
It also recommended issuing a declaration on this subject in one of the future meetings to highlight the importance of restoring the heritage elements and supporting other countries in this regard, in addition to creating a platform for exchanging legal experiences and information about the retrieval of the stolen cultural property.
Dr Nevin Al-Kilani announced Egypt’s adoption of the “Baghdad Declaration” issued in the sixth edition of the Forum of Ancient Civilisations, with the participation of the member states: Armenia, Bolivia, China, Egypt, Greece, Iraq, Iran, Italy, Mexico, Peru, and also with the participation of international and regional organisations, including UNESCO, Interpol, Alexo, ISESCO
In addition, she praised the efforts of the Republic of Iraq in hosting and sponsoring the forum. She stressed that the “Baghdad” Declaration confirmed the support of the Iraqi government and its people, supporting the efforts exerted to restore the archaeological sites that were destroyed by terroristic groups.
Furthermore, The “Baghdad” Declaration stressed the necessity of making bilateral or multilateral agreements to preserve cultural heritage and to eliminate the illegal transfer of cultural property and illegal excavations.
Plus, she stressed the importance of activating mechanisms to preserve archaeological sites, museums, libraries, archives, and others.
The “Baghdad Declaration” also praised the importance of the pivotal role of UNESCO in preserving cultural heritage, promoting the role of culture as a tool to bring people together and accelerate the dialogue between them.
The conclusion of the “Baghdad Declaration”, called for the promotion of scientific research and academic co-operation, and the encouragement of the process of digital transformation in our societies, especially in the cultural sector. It also addressed the challenges related to this matter to benefit more from technology to preserve cultural heritage and to develop the cultural and creative industries.