In the framework of the “UNESCO Documentation and Advisory Services” (UDAS) project, UNESCO Beirut launched on 8 May 2017 a Third Consultation Workshop for “Baalbek and Tyre Archaeological Project” (BTAP). The workshop was organized under the patronage of the Ministry of Culture and in collaboration with the Directorate General of Antiquities (DGA) and the Council for Development and Reconstruction (CDR). The UDAS project aims to provide Technical Assistance to the Ministry of Culture/Directorate General of Antiquities (DGA) to control works and monitor conservation measures at the two World Heritage Sites of Baalbek and Tyre.

In the launching meeting, the head of the Culture unit at UNESCO Beirut, Joseph Kreidi, reminded that the workshop falls under the framework of the “Cultural Heritage and Urban Development” (CHUD) Project, implemented by the Council for Development and Reconstruction (CDR) and financed by the World Bank and the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS)”. Kreidi noted that UNESCO Beirut will “provide expertise in order to ensure that conservation works on the sites of Baalbek and Tyre comply with international standards that would preserve and enhance the outstanding universal values upon which both sites were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list”.

In his speech, the Director General of DGA, Mr Sarkis El Khoury, praised the cooperation between UNESCO Beirut and the Ministry of Culture and noted that “the Ministry seeks to establish a balance between urban development and the conservation of heritage and historical sites”. El Khoury emphasized the value and importance of cultural and historical heritage in “promoting economic development and cultural and religious tourism”.

This consultation workshop brought together all the concerned parties, including the DGA, the CDR, consultants and contractors of BTAP, in addition to an external ICOMOS expert, in order to discuss the adopted conservation measures with respect to the World Heritage requirements in accordance with article 172 of the Operational Guidelines for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention, and ensure that the foreseen conservation measures at the two aforementioned sites do not affect the Outstanding Universal Values of the concerned sites.

The workshop included two field inspection visits on the 9th and 10th of May 2017 at the concerned sites. In the closing session held at UNESCO Beirut premises on 11th May 2017, experts and stakeholders shared their vision and issued recommendations to guarantee risk-free interventions and ensure balanced conservation of Baalbek and Tyre sites.