UNESCO 2001 Convention for the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage
Commonwealth considers ratification
The Commonwealth of Australia is considering ratification of the UNESCO 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage. The Convention aims to protect underwater cultural heritage to assist countries in managing and preserving their unique underwater cultural heritage. The Convention came into force on 2 January 2009 following ratification by 20 States. The States that have now ratified the convention can be found on the UNESCO website .
The Convention requires all signatories to enact legislation that protects and provides for management of underwater cultural heritage in accordance with Rules listed in the Annex of the Convention.
Four main principles underpin the 2001 Convention:
- Obligation to preserve underwater cultural heritage;
- In situ preservation as a preferred or first option;
- No commercial exploitation of underwater cultural heritage; and
- Training and information sharing.
The Convention defines underwater cultural heritage as all traces of human existence having cultural, historical or archaeological character which have been partially or totally underwater, periodically or continuously for at least 100 years. It does not include installations still in operation such as submarine cables or piers, jetties and wharves that have been utilised with the last 100 years.
The Commonwealth Government is undertaking consultation with the States and Territories on the implications of ratification of the Convention. At the 19th Meeting of the Environment Protection Heritage Council on 5 November 2009, Council endorsed Australia pursuing ratification of the UNESCO 2001 Convention for the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage.
For further information, please visit the UNESCO website: http://www.unesco.org/en/underwater-cultural-heritage
* Albania, Barbados, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Croatia, Cuba, Ecuador, Spain, Grenada, Haiti, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Lebanon, Lithuania, Mexico, Montenegro, Nigeria, Panama, Paraguay, Portugal, Islamic Republic of Iran, Romania, St. Lucia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tunisia, Ukraine
- Australian National Maritime Museum
- Australasian Institute for Maritime Archaeology
- Devonport Maritime Museum
- Maritime Archaeology Association of Victoria
- Maritime Archaeological Association of Queensland
- Maritime Archaeological Association of WA
- Norfolk Island Museum
- Southern Ocean Exploration
- The Sydney Project
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