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UAE pledges Dh55m for heritage site protection fund

The UAE has pledged US$15 million (Dh55m) to a historic alliance to protect cultural heritage sites threatened by war and extremism.

The Emirates was among the world donors that pledged more than $75m during a conference at the Louvre Museum in Paris, attended by Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, French president Francois Hollande and other officials.

The conference established the International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas, a foundation to finance projects to protect, conserve and restore cultural property endangered by armed conflict.

Sheikh Saif said that since the Abu Dhabi conference in December on protecting heritage sites “huge strides” had been made to develop a strategy to ensure the preservation of cultural artefacts for future generations, according to Wam, the state news agency.

“It is a great achievement to see that the strategies set out in the Abu Dhabi Declaration materialise as impactful and sustainable means to safeguard cultural resources,” he said.

Mohammed Al Mubarak, special representative of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi to the foundation, explained its goals.

“This foundation has now been established as the backbone to attract, leverage, manage and invest resources for the implementation of preventive and emergency protection programmes for cultural property in danger of destruction, damage or looting due to armed conflict, and to contribute to the rehabilitation of cultural heritage, as well as building capacity for professionals working in these situations,” he said.

France pledged $30m for the fund, Saudia Arabia $20m, Kuwait $5m and Morocco $1.5m. Luxembourg pledged €3 million, while Thomas Kaplan, a private donor, pledged $1m.

Italy, Germany, Switzerland and China also pledged other types of support, such as storage for endangered artefacts and training of curators and restorers.

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The National