Saudi Arabia to chair UNESCO World Heritage Committee for first time

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Saudi Arabia will host the 45th session of UNESCO’s World Heritage Commission in Riyadh for the first time this year, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Wednesday.

A unanimous decision also adopted the Kingdom as the official Chair of the World Heritage Committee, with Princess Haifa bint Abdulaziz al-Mogrin, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to UNESCO and Chairperson of the Programs and External Relations Committee of UNESCO, as its head.

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The committee session will be held from September 10 to 25, SPA said.

“A dedicated UNESCO member state since the very beginning, this decisive move is an opportunity for the Kingdom to further promote the protection, promotion and preservation of cultural heritage,” the Permanent Delegation of Saudi Arabia to UNESCO said in a tweet.

The decision is the culmination of Saudi Arabia’s significant role in supporting heritage, its ongoing efforts to boost joint human heritage, and the work it has done to fulfill the goals of the World Heritage Committee, Princess Haifa said.

The decision also comes following Saudi Arabia’s considerable efforts at UNESCO, the support given to the cultural sector by King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and the ongoing support by Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan.

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of representatives of 21 states elected by the General Assembly, examines the proposals of states wishing to place their sites on the World Heritage List, assists experts to report on the sites, and provides the final assessment of the decision of the proposed sites on the World Heritage List.T

The Kingdom has two other members of UNESCO’s main committees, as well as its membership in the World Heritage Committee: membership of the Executive Council and membership of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, which highlights the Kingdom’s role as a pivotal and international center of action in the organization’s decision-making.

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