The ICCROM FAR team is currently on the ground in Cairo, Egypt, to help train Sudanese heritage professionals in crisis response, risk mitigation and first aid to endangered heritage.  

ICCROM in Egypt for SudanICCROM, through our First Aid and Resilience for Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis (FAR) programme and our Sharjah Regional Office (UAE), in close collaboration with the National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums (NCAM), UNESCO and the Egyptian Heritage Rescue Foundation (EHRF) and in cooperation with ICOMOS, is organizing a five-day workshop on crisis response, risk mitigation and first aid for Sudan's endangered heritage. 

The workshop is taking place in Cairo, Egypt, from 6 to 10 July 2023. Our goal is to help develop capacities for more than 20 multidisciplinary heritage professionals and staff representing NCAM to mount a risk-informed crisis response using ICCROM's field-tested tools and resources. In collaboration with multidisciplinary experts, ICCROM is urgently working to develop these capacities to reduce risks and provide first aid to endangered cultural heritage, as well as set up coordination mechanisms among national and international stakeholders. 

Second workshop in the past month to help Sudanese teams 

ICCROM in Egypt for SudanThis workshop builds upon our workshop held from 3 to 5 June 2023 with EHRF, wherein participants were provided with a step-by-step methodology for conducting systematic situation analysis and procedures for assessing risks to movable and immovable heritage in times of crisis. As a result of the successful workshop, NCAM formed its Emergency Response Committee to identify immediate needs and help international partners implement heritage safeguard actions in Sudan. 

This second workshop continues our efforts to help NCAM's staff, community members and volunteers to reduce and manage risks for all forms of heritage. It will begin by duly updating the systematic situation analysis conducted as part of the first workshop to reflect the latest developments in the country. This will allow for an in-depth understanding of primary and secondary risks to Sudan's cultural heritage and define suitable risk mitigation measures accordingly. 

Participants will also be introduced to planning and activation of crisis response and provided with field-tested procedures for crisis communication. A special module will be introduced highlighting the measures to be taken for personal safety and security when operating in an emergency context. 

The workshop will then introduce tools and procedures for carrying out rapid on-site damage and risk assessments for movable, immovable and intangible cultural heritage in emergency situations using co-developed forms. This will help participants identify priorities for first aid, estimate the existing capacities, supplies and resources needed, and plan emergency stabilization operations. 

A hands-on simulation activity will enable participants to test their knowledge and skills, enhance their coordination mechanisms and improve damage and risk assessment forms to be used to collect data on the ground. Workshop participants will also learn a step-by-step methodology for conducting emergency documentation, evacuation and stabilization of movable, immovable and intangible heritage. 

The multidisciplinary nature of the workshop team will further coach participants with basic principles of effective teamwork, coordination and communication skills – all of which are crucial in emergency response. 

Drawing international attention to cultural heritage crisis in Sudan 

Reuters interviewed FAR Senior Programme Leader Aparna Tandon about Sudan's cultural heritage in the ongoing crisis. Sudan's heritage is currently at great risk of being damaged or lost, and actions must be taken to preserve it. However, as Aparna explained, one of the biggest challenges is that "while there is a lot of awareness about cultural heritage and the need to protect it in times of crisis [...], culture is still not mainstreamed into the language of humanitarian aid."

Read more here.