During the 12th Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity - an event held in Rabat in the presence of the Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay - the King of Morocco, Mohammed VI, called for the preservation and protection of the cultural heritage of all countries. The monarch stressed the need to "fight" against attempts to illegally attack heritage and civilisations, according to Al-Arab.
The committee, which is currently meeting in the Moroccan capital until 3 December, is made up of 24 representatives chosen from among 180 countries that are signatories to the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
The Kingdom of #Morocco 🇲🇦 welcomes the 180 delegations from States Parties to the 2003 @UNESCO Convention who will take part in the 17th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the safeguarding of the #IntangibleCulturalHeritage.— Le Maroc à l'UNESCO 🇲🇦 (@Maroc_UNESCO) November 27, 2022
The session will start tomorrow in #Rabat pic.twitter.com/GY1yVseAWW
The choice of Morocco as the venue for this meeting, the first in two years due to the coronavirus pandemic, was not causal. According to UNESCO, the Kingdom "played an active role in the adoption of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage even before its ratification, as it actively participated in the drafting of the document". In this regard, UNESCO stressed that Morocco has 12 elements inscribed in the Convention.
Rabat was chosen because of the cultural richness of the city, which is considered a world cultural centre. The Moroccan capital was chosen as the seat of African culture and the Islamic world for the year 2022. King Mohammed VI pointed out the importance of its geographical location, which in the past made it the centre of several civilisations and cultures, such as Phoenician, Roman, Islamic, Andalusian and European. It should be noted that Rabat has been a World Heritage Site since 2012.
La sauvegarde et la transmission des connaissances et savoir-faire traditionnels sont une priorité de l'@UNESCO_fr. Je suis heureuse d'avoir ouvert à #Rabat la 17e session du Comité du #patrimoine culturel immatériel, qui va examiner 54 nouvelles propositions de nominations. pic.twitter.com/9P6fsPywgA— Audrey Azoulay (@AAzoulay) November 28, 2022
During the meeting, the director of the United Nations agency specialising in culture, education and science praised the Moroccan monarch, pointing out "his commitment to culture and multilateral action in the service of peace", according to the North African Post. For this, Azoulay, who is of Moroccan origin, expressed his "most sincere" thanks to the king. "The preservation of heritage owes much to the commitment of His Majesty King Mohammed VI," he added.
SM le Roi se félicite de la qualité du partenariat entre l’#UNESCO et le #Maroc, en faveur de la sauvegarde du patrimoine culturel immatériel et la préservation de la culture et des traditions.— 2M.ma (@2MInteractive) November 28, 2022
🔗 https://t.co/HBy0Gtd8tP pic.twitter.com/cz3Mm9IXsz
Mohammed VI, for his part, called for "seeking more effective ways to educate young people about the importance of heritage and its care". Within heritage, the monarch stressed "its multiple cultural tributaries and its historical ties that run deep into history".
He also stressed the need to "digitise" this rich cultural heritage, in accordance with current times and challenges. This would also ensure "the interest of children in the cultural heritage left by our ancestors". "It is necessary to keep pace with digital transformations and commit to providing valuable digital content," he added.
SM le Roi #MohammedVI, que Dieu L'assiste, a adressé un Message aux participants à la 17ème session du Comité intergouvernemental de l'@UNESCO_fr pour la sauvegarde du #PatrimoineCulturelImmatériel, dont les travaux ont été ouverts le 28 novembre à #Rabat. https://t.co/Uty2Ws8gDF pic.twitter.com/BwcZlGNB1T— Le Maroc à l'UNESCO 🇲🇦 (@Maroc_UNESCO) November 28, 2022
For the king, this meeting represents an opportunity for the delegations of the participating countries, experts and cultural heritage stakeholders to put forward "valid recommendations aimed at the conservation and maintenance of intangible cultural heritage, also presenting conclusions that will help in its development and advancement".
With regard to the objectives of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, Mohammed VI indicated that it has become a central aspect of international relations. He also recalled that Morocco is committed to the protection of cultural heritage, an aspect in which it plays an important role.
L'Ambassadeur Samir #Addahre avec la DG de l'@UNESCO_fr à #Rabat.@AudreyAzoulay porte un caftan traditionnel #marocain, à l'occasion du dîner inaugural de la 17ème session du Comité intergouvernemental pour la sauvegarde du #patrimoineculturelImmatériel.#Maroc #Patrimoine pic.twitter.com/PU1wQKjhOc— Le Maroc à l'UNESCO 🇲🇦 (@Maroc_UNESCO) November 27, 2022
Taking advantage of the UNESCO meeting in Morocco, Mohammed VI announced the creation of a national centre for cultural heritage whose mission will be to "highlight the achievements in this field". The centre will monitor national heritage in the various regions of the Kingdom, improve the capacities of professionals to implement conservation measures, educate young people, present the importance of cultural heritage and work on the elaboration of the country's nomination reports.
"En el contexto de la especial atención que constantemente dedicamos al #patrimonio cultural,[...] anunciamos la creación de un centro nacional para el #PatrimonioInmaterial,cuya misión consistirá en valorizar los logros conseguidos en este dominio."SM #MohammedV #Rabat pic.twitter.com/RHuGtw6fEQ— Le Maroc à l'UNESCO 🇲🇦 (@Maroc_UNESCO) November 28, 2022
Rabat has signed all the international conventions ratified by UNESCO, sometimes adapting its national legislation to these agreements. The Kingdom has also participated in several programmes related to heritage preservation and has contributed to the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund.