2020 Session 3

Session 3: Sustainable development of Underwater Cultural Heritage in the AsiaPacific Region


The archaeological community seems to acknowledge the touristic side of the underwater cultural heritage but only if is not incompatible with the protection and management of underwater cultural heritage. In fact, the 2001 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage highlights the importance of public awareness and public enjoyment of the underwater cultural heritage. This is implicitly pointing out the necessity of a sustainable use of this heritage: it tries to balance the desire to conserve and protect versus the desire to exploit. However, while it has been accepted that the heritage needs to be available to all, its availability sometimes could threat its integrity: mass tourism can bring pollution, economic exploitation and mass transit.

Sustainability means living in a way that do not endanger the life chances of people alive tomorrow by exhausting the earth’s resources and destroying its environment. In our case, it means enjoying the underwater cultural heritage today in a way that do not endanger it for tomorrow. However, underwater cultural heritage can be places to visit and learn, giving economic benefits to local communities. New options have to be developed for making underwater cultural heritage accessible to all since involving society is not only necessary but also a good way to preserve the underwater cultural heritage.

This session seeks to find proposals where the management of underwater cultural heritage complies with a sustainable development: to provide education, protection and accessibility. The Asia‐Pacific Conference on Underwater Cultural Heritage is the perfect scenario to keep an open mind to attract new ideas where not only the preservation of the underwater heritage but also its enjoyment by all can become a reality: the sustainable use of underwater cultural heritage is possible.


Session organiser:

Dr Elena Perez‐Alvaro
Licit Cultural Heritage Ltd