First Published: 2017-03-20

UNESCO raises $75.5 mn to protect heritage from war, terror
French President Hollande hosts gathering at Louvre where seven countries, philanthropist pledge millions to UNESCO heritage fund.
Middle East Online

UNESCO representative documents damage wreaked by Islamic State group at ancient site of Nimrud, Iraq

PARIS - Seven countries and an American donor on Monday pledged $75.5 million (70 million euros) to a UNESCO-backed fund aimed at protecting the world's cultural heritage against war and terrorism.

French President Francois Hollande hosted the gathering at the Louvre museum in Paris of influential art patrons and world leaders at the initiative of the UN cultural body, the United Arab Emirates and France.

Their International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Zones (ALIPH), based in Geneva, aims to raise $100 million by 2019.

"At Bamiyan, Mosul, Palmyra, Timbuktu and elsewhere, fanatics have engaged in trafficking, looting and the destruction of cultural heritage, adding to the persecution of populations," Hollande said.

The funds will be used to help prevent the destruction of historic sites in conflict zones, combat the illicit trade in cultural artifacts and help restore damaged relics.

France pledged $30 million to the fund, followed by Saudi Arabia with $20 million and co-host UAE with $15 million.

US philanthropist Tom Kaplan pledged $1 million.

A total of 40 countries pledged their support to the initiative at a conference in Abu Dhabi in December.

After Islamic State group fighters seized the ancient ruins of Palmyra in May 2015, they systematically destroyed and looted the temples of the UNESCO World Heritage site.

IS also ravaged the Assyrian city of Nimrud in Iraq using bulldozers and explosives and ransacked pre-Islamic treasures in Mosul's museum.

Bamiyan, in Afghanistan, and Timbuktu, in Mali, are other UNESCO sites to suffer destruction at the hands of Islamic extremists.

 

Pentagon skeptical about Russia's Syria pullout claims

Senior Saudi prince blasts Trump's "opportunistic" Jerusalem move

Kuwait ruler’s son named defence minister

EU accused of complicity in Libya migrant rights violations

Saudi Arabia lifts decades-long ban on cinemas

Russia begins partial withdrawal from Syria

Russia weary of returning IS jihadists before World Cup, election

6.2-magnitude earthquake strikes Iran

EU says Syria war ‘ongoing’ despite Russia pullout

Istanbul nightclub gunman refuses to testify

Integrating Syrians in Turkey carries implications

US opinion views Muslims and Arabs more favourably but political affiliation makes a difference

Iranian conservative protesters say Trump hastening end of Israel

Jordan referred to UN for failing to arrest Sudanese president

Turkey demands life for journalists in coup bid trial

Netanyahu expects EU to follow suit on Jerusalem

Putin orders withdrawal of ‘significant’ amount of troops from Syria

Putin to meet with Sisi in Cairo

GCC at a critical juncture

Houthi rebels tighten grip on Sanaa after Saleh’s assassination

Israel’s Syrian air strikes risk renewing escalation as Iran expands presence in Golan

Qatar to acquire 24 Typhoon fighters from UK

Bahraini civil society group criticised after Israel visit

Israel PM faces renewed pressure in Europe

Palestinian stabs Israeli guard in ‘terrorist’ attack

UAE’s Sheikh Mohammed says US Jerusalem decision could help terrorists

Fateh encourages more protests, refuses to meet Pence

Chinese electric carmaker to open Morocco factory

Iraqi victory over IS remains fragile

Morocco’s renewed ties with South Africa likely to consolidate support for Western Sahara stance

Lebanese security forces fire tear gas at protestors

Syria’s justice system: ‘working without a written law'

Egypt revives controversial desert capital project

Iran sentences fugitive ex-bank chief to jail

Iraq announces 'end of the war against Daesh'

Israeli air strike kills 2 in Gaza

UK foreign minister in Iran to push for Briton's release

Turkey's Erdogan seeks to lead Muslim response on Jerusalem

Iraqi Christians celebrate in town retaken from IS

Isolated US defiant at UN Security Council

Putin to visit Turkey for talks on Jerusalem, Syria

Protests sweep Muslim world over Jerusalem

US urges Saudi to show caution in regional disputes

Thousands march in Istanbul to protest US Jerusalem move

Bahrain Shiite leader undergoes surgery