Workshop in Sudan, June 2023From 3 to 5 June 2023, ICCROM’s FAR programme, supported by its alumni and long-standing partner, the Egyptian Heritage Rescue Foundation (EHRF), co-led an emergency workshop and forum at the Child Museum in Cairo, Egypt, aimed at supporting Sudan in safeguarding its heritage sites.  

This workshop was organized in light of the currently ongoing crisis in Sudan that has immensely impacted communities, for which ICCROM expresses deep concern. ICCROM-Sharjah Planning and Field Projects Manager Anwar Sabik spoke recently about the impact the crisis is having on cultural heritage and why it matters to local communities. 

Most of Sudan’s archaeological sites, museum collections and buildings, including the World Heritage sites of Meroe and Gebel Barkal, along with 15 museums, are governed by the National Corporation of Antiquities and Museums (NCAM) under the aegis of Sudan's Ministry of Information and Culture. 

Organized upon the initiative of the Mallinson Architects – Michael and Helen Mallinson, who have worked extensively on heritage recovery projects in Sudan – and co-led by EHRF, the workshop benefitted from the cooperation of UNESCO Cairo, UNESCO Khartoum, ICCROM’s FAR programme and ICCROM’s Regional Centre in Sharjah, as well as representatives from the British Museum and ICOM Egypt. NCAM was represented by its Director-General, Prof Ibrahim Musa, and Dr Iglal Malik, former ICCROM Council member, along with 12 staff members. 

Workshop participants undertook a systematic situation analysis to identify sites most at risk and evaluate existing capacities on the ground. ICCROM-FAR Senior Programme Leader Aparna Tandon shared a step-by-step methodology for conducting situation analyses, as well as procedures for managing risks and responding to crises. Amira Sadik Aly and AbdelHamid Salah from EHRF led sessions on assessing risks to movable and immovable heritage, with simple guiding questions adapted from ICCROM-FAR’s PATH - Peacebuilding Assessment Tool for Heritage Recovery and Rehabilitation. FAR Programme Assistant Jui Ambani developed a short damage and risk assessment form tailored to the situation in Sudan, which was shared with the participants to collect, verify and analyze on-the-ground data concerning damages and risks to cultural heritage.  

The last day of the workshop was dedicated to international partner and stakeholder statements of support and agreeing to the next steps. One of the biggest challenges foreseen was communication in areas of active conflict. Participants brainstormed possible ways damage and risk assessments can be conducted, and the possibility of forming a national team for long-term heritage protection. 

To conclude the successful workshop and ensure the sustainability of its results, NCAM formed the Emergency Response Committee - chaired by Dr Malik with Mustafa Alsharief, Amani Yousif Bashir, Mahmoud Suliman, Sami El Amin, Neama Kamal, Sarah Abdul-latif and Tuga El Tigani - to identify on-the-ground needs and help international partners implement heritage safeguard actions in Sudan.  

Next steps 

ICCROM’s FAR programme and the ICCROM Regional Centre in Sharjah will assist the crisis response team led by NCAM's senior leadership to:  

  1. Develop a long-term and risk-informed response strategy; 

  1. Set up coordination mechanisms among all stakeholders identified nationally and internationally; 

  1. Conduct damage and risk assessment for movable, immovable and intangible cultural heritage; 

  1. Provide training to NCAM staff, community members and volunteers to implement preventive risk mitigation measures and provide first aid to damaged heritage; and 

  1. Develop a risk map that enables visualization of all possible hazards, risks, exposures and vulnerabilities, and existing capacities to confront these challenges.  

ICCROM’s FAR programme is purpose-built to protect heritage and focuses on preventing risks, enhancing preparedness, and developing capacities for protecting heritage before, during and after a disaster or conflict. It provides in-crisis assistance to ICCROM Member States and has initiated a multipronged action plan in Ukraine. We are seeking active partnerships and support for our actions.  

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