Essaouira, Morocco, 26-28 November 2018

International Forum on Cities and Heritage in Arab Countries

Dr Webber Ndoro, ICCROM’s Director-General, presided over the opening of the International Forum on Cities and Heritage in Arab Countries, just launched in Essaouira, Morocco. This international conference aims to highlight the most effective factors that contribute to the preservation of urban heritage in Arab cities, to encourage social diversity, and to exchange proposals for solutions on common challenges.

Also attending the event was Mr André Azoulay, Advisor to HM the King of Morocco, HE Mohamed Laaraj, Minister of Culture and Communication of Morocco, and Dr Zaki Aslan, Zaki Aslan, Regional Representative of ICCROM for the Arab States and Director of ICCROM-ATHAR Regional Conservation Centre.

Case studies from the Arab region that preserve the quality of life in historic neighbourhoods and cities, including in the historic town of Essaouira, will buttress the reflections on the most appropriate tools to develop cultural heritage and achieve sustainable development in historic urban contexts.

Mohamed Laaraj

“The choice of Essaouira to host this event reflects the importance of this city, which dates back thousands of years," said Minister Laaraj during his opening remarks.
The event counts with the presence of heritage conservation institutions and specialists from sixteen Arab countries including Morocco, along with international experts and researchers in the fields of humanitarian and social sciences.

Dr Ndoro congratulated the many Forum participants, commenting that “the Arab region is very important for ICCROM, as 20% of our Member States are from this region."

The Forum discussions focus on three main themes:

  1. institutional and legal frameworks aimed at integrating the conservation of historic neighborhoods and cities within the framework of sustainable development, while achieving a balance between the built and natural environment;
  2. building practical capacities, education and university qualifications, and promoting scientific research and the exchange of information and communication;
  3. promoting a participatory and collaborative approach between stakeholders, and also between international institutions, experts and managers of historic city sites.

International Forum on Cities and Heritage in Arab Countries

The Forum is held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Dr Sultan Al Qassimi, Ruler of Sharjah, and Princess Lalla Hasna, President of the Moroccan Society for Archaeology and Heritage.  It is organized by the Regional Conservation Centre in Sharjah (ICCROM-ATHAR), and the Moroccan Society for Archaeology and Heritage (SMAP), in partnership with the Ministry of Culture and Communication.  Further support is provided by the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, the Academy of the Kingdom of Morocco, the National Institute of Archaeology and Heritage, the regional and municipal councils of Essaouira, the Essaouira Mogador Association and the regional and municipal directorates of culture.

“We are very proud that the cultural heritage of Essaouira was shaped by a range of civilizations that have passed this country over the centuries.  Our strength lies in the essence of our diversity” said André Azoulay, Advisor to His Majesty the King of Morocco.

“As ICCROM-ATHAR is ICCROM’s only regional office, it is very important not only for Arab countries but also for the whole world,” confirmed Dr Ndoro during the event.