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Culture and Digital Technologies; UNESCO and Its Partners Highlighting Innovative Approaches to Cultural Projects

Wednesday, 20 December 2023 at 14:00
access_time 2 min read

On 17 November 2023, a session on culture and digital technologies was organized by UNESCO in the framework of the Partnerships Hub at the sideline of the 42nd session of UNESCO’s General Conference, with the support of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The session highlighted the UNESCO innovative approaches to the implementation of six different cultural projects funded by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with a special focus on the Dive into Heritage project. These were presented through a panel discussion between Mr. Lazare Eloundou, Director of the World Heritage Centre, Mr Bandar Mutwali, Senior Advisor in the Saudi Ministry of Culture, Mr Olivier Van Damme, Senior Programme Specialist at UNOSAT/UNITAR, Ms Heba Abdulaziz, UNESCO Chair on World Heritage and sustainable tourism management, and Mr. Yves Ublemann, CEO of ICONEM.

Following an introduction on the importance and relevance of innovation as a means of facing new challenges in the field of culture, Lazare Eloundou, director of the World Heritage Centre highlighted the purpose of the Programme on Culture and Digital Technologies before introducing and discussing the different Saudi-funded projects. These include the Virtual Museum of Stolen Cultural Objects, the International Food Atlas and Digital Platform for safeguarding, promoting and transmitting foodways to future generations, Strengthening capacities for resilient communities though Sustainable Tourism and Heritage Safeguarding in Latin America and the Caribbean, Creation of a Sustainable Heritage Ecosystem for Socio-Economic Development in Africa, Strengthening capacities for periodic reporting under the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in Africa, and the Dive into Heritage Project, which aims to leverage the use of digital technologies for the understanding and appreciation of World Heritage Sites and their Outstanding Values, through a dynamic blend of data, imagery and digital storytelling.

The introduction was then followed by a discussion from the different panel members, who emphasized the importance of the projects within the context of each of organizations they represented, as well as their relevance to UNESCO’s key global strategies including Youth, Capacity Building and Priority Africa. They also showcased the resilience of the approaches utilized as these allowed room for adaptability while taking full advantage of the ever-evolving technologies, which is important delivering these projects’ aim in promoting, safeguarding, and documenting culture and heritage in a way that is timeless and accessible, while ensuring that its value is understood, and fully contribute to achieving communities’ aspirations in line with sustainable development goals. All panelist highlighted the importance of partnerships and collaborations among various stakeholders and organization while commending the Saudi Ministry of Culture for its partnership with UNESCO and for supporting these innovative projects. They also joined their voices to encourage UNESCO and its partners to continue collaborating in view of operationalizing other innovative cultural projects.

Wednesday, 20 December 2023 at 14:00
access_time 2 min read
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