During the extended 45th session, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Committee agreed to a proposal submitted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to form a working group to enhance the balance of sites on the World Heritage List and prioritize support for countries that do not have sites, or are underrepresented on the list. The proposal was adopted along with the recommendation that the working group be chaired by Saudi Arabia.
The Committee session is the most important global cultural and heritage gathering and decides if sites are formally inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The adoption of the proposal from Saudi Arabia confirms the impact of the country’s UNESCO membership, and is the latest in a series of successes from this year’s extended 45th session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. Saudi Arabia proudly hosted the Committee session, the first in-person session of the World Heritage Committee in four years, which saw 50 sites nominated for inscription.
The importance of the extended 45th session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee highlighted the value that Saudi Arabia places on working together with partners to protect heritage across the world. These efforts are enhancing sustainable and cooperative approaches to the protection of World Heritage Sites, through the establishment of a common vision, the provision of support, and the enhancement of strategic partnerships.
Stemming from Saudi Arabia’s firm belief in the importance of heritage as a civilisational treasure and precious human and intellectual legacy, the Kingdom worked with its partners and UNESCO to support numerous initiatives aimed at building strong foundations in the field of heritage to support World Heritage Sites across the world. To this end, Saudi Arabia has adopted a 10-year strategy of capacity building to train personnel in heritage preservation. In addition, the ‘Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Funds-in-Trust for Culture at UNESCO’ was also established in 2019, to fund UNESCO projects in support of the strategy and actions for the preservation of heritage.