Gallipoli Shipwreck, courtesy of UNESCO

UNESCO to highlight "underwater cultural heritage" for First World War Centenary with conference

Posted on on 24 July 2013
Share |

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation is planning to mark the Centenary of the First World War with a conference on "underwater heritage".

Submerged shipwrecks from the First World War fall under the jurisdiction of the 2001 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage.

UNESCO highlights that underwater heritage is "seriously endangered" by "pillaging, treasure hunting, and the recovering of scrap metal".

As such, important wrecks such as Lusitania, which was sunk in 1915 by Germany amongst international outcry, "have been subject to considerable destruction well after sinking".

Whilst "not much has been known about such submerged heritage, as it was not greatly researched historically", UNESCO has stated that it will "call on political leaders, the world audience and the scientific community to pay increased attention to submerged heritage and its message for peace".


A "scientific conference and commemorative event" on underwater heritage from the First World War will be held from the 26th-28th June 2014, organised by UNESCO and the Government of Flanders.

The conference will take place in the rooms of the Bruges Courthouse, Belgium.

Further commemorative events, educational activities and conferences to mark the Centenary of the First World War are planned, which will focus on "reconciliation and peace".

The Director-General of UNESCO has invited Member States to support the commemorations.

Date of publication: 22/07/2013

Images courtesy of UNESCO; Savas Karakas

Source: UNESCO website

Posted by: Daniel Barry, Centenary News