Saudi Arabia elected chair of UNESCO World Heritage Committee

Saudi Arabia elected chair of UNESCO World Heritage Committee
Madain Saleh became Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008. (SPA)
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Updated 25 January 2023

Saudi Arabia elected chair of UNESCO World Heritage Committee

Saudi Arabia elected chair of UNESCO World Heritage Committee
  • Unanimous vote ‘opens new chapter in Kingdom’s evolving history’

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will chair UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee following a unanimous decision at the organization’s headquarters in Paris.

The committee will be chaired by Princess Haifa bint Abdulaziz Al-Mogrin, the Kingdom’s permanent representative to UNESCO, and chairperson of the organization’s programs and external relations committee.

The Paris meeting also agreed that Saudi Arabia will host the committee’s 45th session, which will be held in Riyadh from Sept. 10-25.

The selection was approved during the 18th session of the World Heritage Committee, which was held in the presence of all member states of the committee.

Princess Haifa tweeted: “In completion of the Kingdom’s prominent role in supporting and preserving human heritage, I am proud today of accrediting Saudi Arabia as chairman of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, and for hosting of the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee for the first time in September.”

The permanent delegation of the Kingdom to UNESCO tweeted: “Saudi Arabia is home to 6 millennial world heritage sites and 11 intangible heritage elements, Saudi Arabia will proudly host the 45th session of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee in September— it’s a new chapter in our evolving history.”

The decision is the culmination of efforts led by the Kingdom in UNESCO, in light of unlimited support to the cultural sector by King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as well as the support and directives of Culture Minister Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan.

Princess Haifa praised the decision and said that it is simply the result of the Kingdom’s prominent role in supporting heritage, and its extended endeavors toward documenting human heritage alongside the member states of the committee, as well as achieving the goals of UNESCO in general, and the goals of the World Heritage Committee in particular.

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of representatives of 21 states elected by the General Assembly, examines the proposals of states wishing to place their sites on the World Heritage List, assists experts to report on the sites, and provides the final assessment of the decision of the proposed sites on the list.

The Kingdom has two other members of UNESCO’s main committees, as well as its membership in the World Heritage Committee: membership of the Executive Council and membership of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, which highlights the Kingdom’s role as a pivotal and international center of action in the organization’s decision-making.