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1st Regional Conference 2019



In July 2018, the Potomac declaration addressed challenges facing religious freedom, identified concrete means to address persecution of and discrimination against religious groups, and promoted greater respect for religious liberty for all.

The Potomac Plan of Action sets an ambitious agenda to preserve cultural heritage.

The first regional conference on cultural heritage protection of religious communities: The conference held in Rabat gathered high-level government representatives, international organizations, religious leaders, and civil society activists. The delegates discussed concrete ways to combat religious persecution and discrimination and ensure greater respect for freedom of religion or belief.

The conference provided an excellent opportunity for experts, practitioners, and institutional stakeholders from the cultural heritage and minority protection community to share experiences and develop together strategies. A review of the practices was at the center of the conference agenda. Representatives of the Middle East, Europe, the United States of America, Sub-Sahara and the Sahel regions showcasee their experience, providing opportunities to learn about new ways of strengthening capacities and creating a collaborative strategy in the region.

Specific objectives:

  1. Policies that introduce or improve inventory lists of cultural sites and objects that promote respect for and protect heritage;
  2. Technical assistance and professional training to relevant officials and local population to safeguard their heritage and sites from damage and/or looting, and help other governments do so, as well as provide emergency assistance for sites in immediate danger;
  3. Assist with efforts to restore cultural heritage sites of significance to multiple communities in a conflict zone so as to foster intra- and inter-faith relations and rebuild trust;
  4. Raise public awareness, particularly among youth, of the significance and history of cultural heritage, by working with and through religious actors and other community leaders.

Expected Outcomes:

  1.  Create a constituency of actors that can take action (collectively and individually) around a number of key common objectives and priorities related to the protection of cultural and religious heritage;
  2. Endorse concrete actions toward preserving the cultural and religious heritage in the concerned regions;
  3. Boost the needed technical assistance required by some countries and provided by others, including leading International Organizations in the field;
  4. Exchange best practices in preserving religious and cultural heritage as well as promoting public awareness in this regard.

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