Monday, 5 January 2009

Underwater convention - thanks Barbados

On January 2nd after Barbados deposited its instrument of acceptance as the 20th member three months ago, the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage entered into force.

The Convention aiming to ensure more effective safeguarding of submerged shipwrecks and underwater ruins was adopted in 2001 by UNESCO’s General Conference as a reaction to the looting and destruction of underwater cultural heritage.

The convention is based on four main principles: a) the obligation to preserve underwater cultural heritage, b) in situ preservation, i.e. under water, as a preferred option, c) no commercial exploitation of this heritage and d) cooperation among States to protect this precious legacy, to promote training in underwater archeology, and to raise public awareness of the importance of sunken cultural property.

Countries party to the Convention (in chronological order of acceptance/ratification: Panama, Bulgaria, Croatia, Spain, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Nigeria, Lithuania, Mexico, Paraguay, Portugal, Lebanon, Saint Lucia, Romania, Cambodia, Ecuador, Ukraine, Cuba, Montenegro, Slovenia, Barbados.
United Kingdom - no,
United States - no. Why not?

photo: Wreck of the Umbria - photo UNESCO

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