France Commits $30 Million Fund For Protection Of Cultural Heritage Sites

By Reina Ilagan

Dec 05, 2016 10:11 AM EST

France has taken its initial step in the creation of international fund committed for the protection of historical sites from destruction brought by militant attacks. The country has allocated $30 million (£24 million) for the preservation of such cultural sites.

This was announced by François Hollande during the conference Safeguarding Endangered Cultural Heritage organized by France and the United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi. He was in Abu Dhabi for a two-day visit.

Together with Unesco, the fund aims to prevent the destruction of important historical sites, fight the trafficking of stolen artifacts, and pay for the cost of restoration of the war-ravaged sites.

 "What we have to do today, and what we have managed to do, is to ensure the future of what is precious to humanity," the French president addressed the dignitaries during the conference.

Over the years, France has established strong ties to the seven-state Emirates federation, with cultural outreach as its key pillar.

Supporters of the initiative are aiming for an initial fund of $100 million for the cause. This plan, spearheaded by France, is backed by around 40 other nations, agreeing on the establishment of the $100 million fund. The backers also seek to create a network of sites for the temporary safekeeping of artifacts endangered by terrorism and other attacks.

Syria, Mali, Afghanistan and Iraq have been the targets of several militant attacks in the past. The Islamic State group seized different sites, destroying monuments and artifacts, such as the case in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra and the ancient sites in Nimrud.

Through the fund, the nations seek to secure artworks, cultural properties and artifacts which are endangered by conflicts of terrorism in the country itself to avoid issues in sovereignty. The last resort is to send the endangered properties to another country for safekeeping.

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