Underwater cultural heritage takes centre stage

Coast rich in ancient cultural heritage, including shipwrecks, that need protection.

In Summary

• Kenya National Commission for Unesco is holding an information programme underwater archaeology.

• Kenya can get funding from Unesco and experts to preserve its underwater cultural heritage, an dincrase tourism.

The government is in the process of ratifying the underwater cultural heritage convention to make use of its rich ancient sites along the Coast.

The process is advanced, going through stakeholder meetings at the grassroots before going to government departments and Parliament for approval.

If approved by parliament and Unesco, Kenya will receive Unesco funding and expertise on conservation.

The Kenya National Commission for Unesco is holding a four-day programme on the importance of underwater archaeology at the Coast.

The Coast with its many shipwrecks is ich in underwater cultural heritage sites in Ngomeni, Malindi, Lamu, Mombasa and elsewhere.

Speaking at Breeze Point hotel, he said ratification involves stakeholders, communities concerned, Parliament, the Foreign ministry, the Attorney General, and then it is forwarded to Unesco.

Fishermen and political leaders should understand the significance of the convention.

Protected underwater cultural heritage means more tourism and employment.

If fishermen do not understand, they may destroy valuable marine properties.

Kenya has worked closely with China and Italy to establish an underwater museum in Malindi but without ratification, there can be no funding.

(Edited by v. Graham)