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Government to extend Cultural Protection Fund with £10m investment

The UK’s work to protect overseas cultural heritage will receive a further £10 million announced by UK Heritage Minister Helen Whately.

The extension has been put in place to help heritage sits overseas to prepare for and respond to the potential risk of natural disasters and climate change. A new pilot will be trialled, providing local organisations with the skills to protect ancient sites and cultural heritage.

The boost in funding builds on the £30 million ploughed into the Cultural Protection Fund since it began in 2016.

The new focus has been prompted by the tragic loss of iconic buildings and collections in Brazil following the fire at the Museu Nacional in 2018 where more than 20 million objects are thought to have been lost.

The new funding will also support existing Cultural Protection Fund projects to enhance the long-term sustainability of their work and new funding is available for organisations working on projects in Syria, Libya and Yemen.

Heritage Minister Helen Whately said: “The UK’s Cultural Protection Fund helps to protect sites and objects of local and international cultural importance across the world.

“In recent years we have seen some of the world’s great cultural treasures destroyed by conflict or natural disasters. These are losses for the whole of humanity. This additional funding will help communities around the world preserve art, culture and heritage of global significance.”

The current projects include:

  • Working alongside the Yazidi people in displacement camps in Iraq to record and share their music and cultural heritage
  • Preserving unique archaeological sites in Iraqi Kurdistan that date to 10,000 years old that were damaged by the Saddam Hussein regime
  • Working with Syrian refugees to give them the skills to rebuild their country’s stone-built heritage
  • Collecting linguistic data to develop a multilingual dictionary to help preserve the endangered Pamiri languages in Afghanistan
  • Creating a database of Egyptian and Nubian artefacts in a bid to counteract looting and illegal trafficking of antiquities in Egypt


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