The Euromed Heritage programme has welcomed UNESCO's decision to register the Moroccan capital Rabat on its World Heritage list, one of the few capital cities in the world to be registered on the list as “modern capital and historic city: a shared heritage".
The decision was unanimously taken by UNESCO's World Heritage Committee in June. The Euromed Heritage technical assistance team, which contributed to drawing up the city's 'management plan', is very pleased with the decision.
“The case of Rabat is exemplary,” said Jean-Louis Luxen, a Euromed Heritage expert, who cooperates with the Moroccan authorities in matters of cultural heritage. “Morocco is aware of the wealth and the diversity of its heritage. The Moroccan experts have been actively involved into Euromed Heritage programme for many years. Morocco hosted in December 2009 a regional legislative workshop on the rehabilitation of historic cities and neighborhoods, and it is preparing for October 2012 a seminar aimed at Moroccan historic cities managers in order to set up 'management plans' inspired from that of Rabat. This long-term action should be welcomed.”
The application file, prepared by a multi-disciplinary team, highlighted “Rabat’s reappropriation of its past and the influence it exerted on the architects and urban planners of the twentieth century, to produce an original and refined urban, architectural and decorative synthesis.”
The detailed 'management plan' was set up with the support of the European Union to control the economic and social development of the city while respecting the requirements of cultural conservation.
In the “exceptional universal value” Declaration, the World Heritage Committee noted that Rabat offers a heritage shared between many different cultures of human history: Roman, Islamic, Hispanic-Maghrebin and European. It is characterized by the junction between archeological sites, old buildings, traditional housing and modern architecture.
EuroMed Heritage IV is a €17 million EU-funded programme which contributes to the exchange of experiences on cultural heritage, creates networks and promotes cooperation with the Mediterranean Partner Countries. It focuses on the appropriation by the local populations of their cultural heritage and favours access to education and knowledge of cultural heritage. It supports a framework for the exchange of experiences, channels for the dissemination of best practices and new perspectives aimed at the development of an institutional cultural environment.