UAE pledges $20 million to preserve heritage sites in conflict zones

@ALIPHFoundation/ Twitter

The UAE will donate $20 million to the International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas (ALIPH).

It will go towards the foundation’s ongoing and future projects around the world, up to the year 2027.

The commitment was made at the second donors’ conference, which was held at the Louvre Museum in Paris, under the patronage of French President Emmanuel Macron, who opened the event via videoconferencing.

The UAE is a founding member of ALIPH that funds the restoration and rehabilitation of heritage sites in conflict zones.

"Our visionary leaders have inspired us to take pride in our history and our roots and also taught us to embrace the cultures of the world. We believe that staying connected to our roots is the first step towards building a strong future," said Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, UAE Minister of Culture and Youth, while addressing the conference.

Al Kaabi applauded the role of ALIPH and shed light on restoration projects undertaken by the UAE in Iraq, including the ‘Revive the Spirit of Mosul’ project being executed in partnership with United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

The idea of a fund to restore, reconstruct and rehabilitate heritage of war-torn regions took root at a conference on heritage in danger held in Abu Dhabi in December 2016.

Three months later ALIPH was born in March 2017 at the initiative of the UAE and France with the support of UNESCO.

Since then, several other countries and private partners have joined the initiative and supported in the financing of nearly 150 projects in 30 countries on four continents.

At the time of its launch, Geneva-based ALIPH was supported by seven donor countries including the UAE, France, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Luxembourg, China and Morocco, along with three private donors – Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan, the Foundation Gandur pour l’Art, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The foundation secured an amount of US$80 million at the first donors’ conference held in 2017.

In the last five years, ALIPH has supported some of the greatest cultural heritage treasures of humanity, such as, the Tomb of Askia in Mali, the museums of Mosul (Iraq) and Raqqa (North-East Syria), the Minaret of Jam and the Bala Hissar Citadel (Afghanistan), as well as the Arch of Ctesiphon (Iraq).

The alliance also funded the rehabilitation work on the Museum of Civilization in Côte d’Ivoire, the Sondondo Valley in Peru, Agadez in Niger, Ghadamès in Libya, Adulis in Eritrea, Ta’izz in Yemen, and also Koh Ker in Cambodia.

It has been instrumental in safeguarding the interests of religious minorities in conflict zones and has proactively mobilised resources in the face of emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the port of Beirut explosions.

More from UAE