Mohamad Hammad

UNESCO plays a significant role in protecting cultural heritage and supporting creativity in Palestine. The organization is actively involved in various initiatives and programs aimed at preserving Palestinian cultural heritage and fostering cultural expression. Below are some key aspects of UNESCO's role in this context:

Protecting World Cultural Heritage in Palestine

Palestine managed to inscribe sites on the World Heritage List; a list that recognizes the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of these sites. Other sites in Palestine, which bear a potential (OUV) are inscribed on a Tentative List that might be inscribed one day on the World Heritage List. UNESCO works closely with Palestinian national authorities to ensure the preservation, conservation, and sustainable management of these sites such as in Al-Khalil/Hebron Old Town, Battir, Bethlehem, Tell es-Sultan, Anthedon Port and the Old Town of Nablus.

Preservation of historic built environment

UNESCO provides technical expertise, capacity-building, and financial support to safeguard and preserve Palestinian cultural heritage in the historic built environment. It supported the restoration and conservation of cultural sites, monuments, and archaeological sites, focusing on their protection from damage, destruction, and illicit trafficking. UNESCO supported the preservation and adaptive reuse of 75 cultural heritage sites in Palestine between 2012 and 2021.

Emergency Safeguarding

UNESCO works to protect cultural heritage at risk either due to natural or man-made hazards. In Palestine, UNESCO supported emergency safeguarding measures to prevent damage or loss of Palestinian cultural assets, including providing training to local professionals, raising awareness about the importance of heritage protection, coordinating with relevant authorities and organizations as well as implementing physical interventions to ensure effective protection. UNESCO conducted post-disaster needs assessments (PDNA) in the Gaza Strip following the successive rounds of conflict and the resulting damage to Palestinian heritage assets and implemented activities that contribute to counter the impact of the conflict.

Intangible Cultural Heritage

UNESCO recognizes the rich values of the intangible cultural heritage in Palestine and actively supports its safeguarding and promotion. This includes identifying, documenting, and transmitting traditional practices, rituals, music, crafts, and other forms of intangible heritage and ensuring its continuity. UNESCO assists the Ministry of Culture in the preparation of periodic reports which are part of Palestine’s obligations following the ratification of international conventions in addition to the capacity-building activities and the support to updating policies and legislations.

Creative Industries and Cultural Expression

UNESCO supports the promotion of Palestinian cultural expression and the development of cultural creative industries in Palestine. It encourages the growth of cultural and creative sectors, such as arts, crafts, design, and music as sources of economic development and platforms for cultural exchange. UNESCO provided training, capacity-building, and networking opportunities for Palestinian artists and cultural professionals such as the training on the creative economy which targeted 20 professionals in Palestine in 2022.
Through these efforts, UNESCO assists Palestine and Palestinian institutions and individuals to preserve Palestinian cultural heritage, promote cultural creative industries, and contribute to empowering Palestinian communities to safeguard their cultural identity.