CAIRO: Egypt’s permanent delegation to UNESCO will hold a seminar Wednesday at UNESCO headquarters in Paris to discuss ways to boost funding of Egypt’s stumbling archaeological projects, Ambassador Mohamed Samy Amr, Egypt’s permanent delegate to the UNESCO, told MENA.
Present at the seminar will be the UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, Antiquities Minister Mamdouh al-Damaty, director of programs for the International Council of Museums (ICOM) France Desmarais and Christian Manhart, Head of the Museum Section at UNESCO.
“The seminar aims to launch an international campaign to help complete delayed work on the various suspended projects, funded and supported by UNESCO, and developing action plans for the construction of the National Museum for Egyptian Civilization (NMEC), the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) and the Historic Cairo Rehabilitation Project (HCRP),” said Amr.
The possibility of establishing a regional centre for World Heritage in Cairo, which would help African countries protect their archaeological sites listed on the World Heritage List, is on the seminar’s agenda, Amr added.
Political turmoil in Egypt since the January 25 Revolution in 2011 and the subsequent security lapse has badly affected the Egyptian economy and caused the suspension of several archaeological development projects.
The official inauguration of the GEM was postponed from August 2015 to 2018 due to the decrease in Egypt’s revenue from tourism during the past few years.
“This third phase of the GEM, with an estimated cost of $ 3.5 billion, has been suspended due to lack of revenues of ministries of tourism and antiquities,” Antiquities Minister Mamdouh al-Damaty said in a press conference in July.
In the Paris meeting, Damaty is scheduled to demonstrate the Antiquities Ministry’s efforts during the past few months in preserving the Egyptian heritage, tracking artifacts smuggled outside Egypt and in auction houses abroad and completing the pending projects, including the restoration of the Museum of Islamic Art, Amr added.
On Jan. 24, the Museum of Islamic Art was badly damaged in a suicide car bomb attack that targeted the nearby Cairo Security Directorate.