UNESCO and Qatar National Library to Organize Training to Support Documentary Heritage Preservation in the Arab Region

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in partnership with Qatar National Library will organize two trainings as part of their joint project on “Supporting Documentary Heritage Preservation in the Arab Region”. More than 40 documentary heritage practitioners from 19 Arab countries will be invited to participate in two specialized capacity-building sessions to take place in Jordan and Tunisia in March and April 2020, respectively.

The first training, “Collection management and documentation technique”, will focus on best practices on documentation such as entry, exit and loans procedures, labelling, cataloguing, and movement control. It will also help participants create or update documentation procedures manuals and to set up collection management plans to ensure safe, secure, and effective management of heritage collections.

Organized in cooperation with the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), the second training will focus on preventive conservation as well as crisis preparedness and first aid to documentary heritage at risk. This hands-on training will focus on enhancing participants’ skills for emergency and coordinated preparedness and response to safeguard movable and immovable cultural heritage.

The two training sessions are part of a larger regional joint project between UNESCO and Qatar National Library, also IFLA Regional Preservation and Conservation Center (PAC) for Arab countries and the Middle East, which aims to safeguard the rich and unique documentary heritage of the region. This partnership aims to protect the Arab region’s history, identity, and knowledge through the preservation of documentary heritage, which currently is at high risk of being lost due to neglect, natural decay, outdated technology, inadequate housing, or deliberate destruction.

The trainings follow the regional conference that took place in Qatar on 1 and 2 December, which brought together international and regional experts and practitioners to share experiences and challenges in the field of documentary heritage preservation in the Arab region. One of the highlights of the conference was the agreement of the participants to a “Declaration to Support Preservation of Documentary Heritage in the Arab Region,” addressed to countries heritage institutions and calling for action on all levels to raise the standards of conservation and care of documentary heritage based on regional and global best practices.

Anna Paolini, UNESCO Representative in the Arab States of the Gulf and Yemen, said: “This project in partnership with Qatar National Library provides an opportunity for documentary heritage institutions in the region to strengthen capacity to better preserve and protect such a priceless heritage that documents not only the history of the region but also of the world.”

Stephane Ipert, Preservation and Conservation Manager and Director of IFLA PAC for Arab countries and the Middle East, said: “Our responsibility as the IFLA Regional PAC compels us to ensure that the Arab region’s institutional practices reflect the latest international progress in the field. This training is a perfect chance to pass on Qatar National Library’s specialist expertise and international experience to support institutions across the region in overcoming the challenges they face locally.”

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