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.

 

UN Security Council warns against holding Iraqi Kurd vote

Syria Kurds vote to cement federal push

Rouhani vows Iran will boost missiles despite US criticism

Yemen leader promises UN to open entire country to aid

Gemstone purchase essential for Najaf pilgrims

Saudi cleric banned for saying women have ‘quarter’ brain

Veteran Syrian activist, daughter assassinated in Istanbul

Tunisia drops forced anal exams for homosexuality

Bomb used in Saudi-led strike on Yemen children US-made

Police charge teenager over London Underground attack

Nigerian official to meet Turkish counterpart over illegal guns

Thousands feared trapped in Raqa as IS mounts last stand

Iraqi forces achieve first step in new offensive on IS

Migrant boat sinks off Turkish Black Sea coast leaving four dead, 20 missing

Trump praises 'friend' Erdogan

Russia clashes with EU over Syria

UN sets up probe of IS war crimes in Iraq

US, Iranian top diplomats confront each other for first time

Air strikes kill 22 civilians in northwest Syria in 48 hours

Iranian supreme leader lashes out at Trump UN speech

Thousands of Huthi supporters mark 3 years since Sanaa takeover

Iraq attacks all remaining IS territory at once

Moscow accuses US of hitting Syrian regime forces

Turkey jails lawyers representing hunger striking teachers

Turkey, Iran and Iraq make joint threat against Kurd vote

Syrian Kurds to hold first local elections in federal push

Qatari expats lauded as statesmen by Arab critics

Shipwreck off Libyan coast leaves over 100 migrants missing

Will Turkey’s opposition to Kurdish state translate into action?

US ups the ante on Iraq Kurds

Macron: Iran nuclear deal no longer enough

Trump’s mind made up on Iran but refuses to divulge

Scores of Iraqis missing during war against ISIS

Netanyahu rejects calls for mixed gender worship at Western Wall

Russia accuses US of missile treaty breach

Iran TV translator mocked for watering down Trump speech

Saudi Arabia hopes Kurdish referendum will not take place

Saudi invites women to sports stadium for first time

Saudi set to create $2.7 billion investment company

Humanitarian disaster grips Yemen three years since Houthi takeover

What will become of Iraq’s Hawija after ISIS?

Multi-ethnic Kirkuk tense ahead of referendum

UN awaits Iran’s defence against Trump nuclear deal threats

US-backed SDF seizes 90% of Syria's Raqa

Man hanged in Iran for rape, murder of child