AMMAN — The Italian government and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Wednesday signed a 1.5-million-euro partnership agreement for a new initiative to safeguard cultural heritage and support local communities in Petra and Wadi Rum.

This additional contribution to a long-standing partnership between the government of Italy and UNESCO in Jordan was cemented in the signing ceremony on Wednesday at the UNESCO Jordan Office premises, in the presence of Italian Ambassador to Jordan Luciano Pezzotti, UNESCO Representative in Jordan Min Jeong Kim, and representatives from the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS), according to a UNESCO statement.

During the signing ceremony, Ambassador Pezzotti underscored “the government of Italy’s commitment to sustain Jordan’s efforts in protecting culture as well as conserving heritage places and managing them efficiently, as a reaffirmation of the Italian dedication to valorise cultural assets and safeguard the rich and diverse living heritage of highly significant places, and provide for international cooperation and assistance in the field of cultural heritage”.

Kim thanked the government of Italy for its generous support and stated: “UNESCO will work closely with the government of Jordan, as well as the local authorities and communities to focus on activities that could help alleviate some of the pressures on the sites due to the exponential increase in the number of tourists in recent years. The ultimate goal of the project is to support the sustainable preservation and development of the World Heritage sites for future generations.”

The two-year initiative titled “Local Communities and Sustainable Tourism in Petra and Wadi Rum” will contribute to the sustainable protection of the two World Heritage sites, while focusing on empowering local communities to play an active role in the preservation of these invaluable places and creating livelihood opportunities, especially for women and youth.

The project will be implemented in close collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, the Department of Antiquities, Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority and the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority.


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