Thursday, June 23 2022

RIYAD: The Saudi Arabian Heritage Commission unveiled its strategy for the development of the heritage sector at a ceremony in At-Turaif district in Diriyah on Wednesday.

Jasser Al-Harbash, CEO of the commission, said the strategy complements the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 development plan and the goals of the broader National Culture Strategy to develop the country’s culture as a mode of life, promote economic growth and improve international reputation. He added that in developing the strategy, the commission had worked with partners from the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.

The launching ceremony, hosted under the patronage of Prince Badr bin Abdullah, Minister of Culture and Chairman of the Heritage Commission, included a visit to the historic district of At-Turaif, which is one of six World Heritage sites of UNESCO in Saudi Arabia. The others are Historic Jeddah, Hegra, Hail Rock Art, Hama Cultural District Rock Art, and Al-Ahsa Oasis.

In addition, eight Saudi cultural elements are inscribed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List and there are over 8,000 registered archaeological sites in the Kingdom. All these important national assets require a global strategy for their maintenance, preservation and development. As part of its research for strategy development, the commission examined the work and operational models of seven nations and eight heritage organizations.

The vision of the strategy is to celebrate “Saudi heritage as national and global cultural wealth”, and its mission includes “the protection, management and promotion of innovation and sustainable development of components of cultural heritage”.

The main pillars of the strategy include the protection and preservation of cultural wealth and archaeological sites and their effective management; promote the research and development of talents specializing in heritage; use the latest digital technologies in the heritage value chain; establish appropriate rules and regulations and issue licenses; work intensively with the private sector; provide funding and support to international agencies; raise public awareness of cultural heritage; and develop broad local and international partnerships.

It identifies 33 initiatives related to these strategic pillars, including the promotion of the Arabic language, poetry and calligraphy, as well as Saudi craft brands, traditional cuisine, music, art and sports, and preservation. and the restoration of archaeological sites in the Kingdom.

In addition, it includes plans for the introduction of vocational training programs in heritage-related fields, the development of a roadmap for heritage research and the improvement of research capacities, the use digital technologies to identify and manage assets, development of digital experiences for visitors, launch of a social networking program for heritage, efforts to attract funding from the private sector and public-private partnerships, and the launch of a major heritage marketing strategy.

In total, the commission will work on the implementation of 150 projects under the new strategy.

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