The National Assembly of The Gambia has on Thursday, 22nd September 2022 unanimously ratified the 2001 UNESCO Convention for the protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage (UCH).
The ratification of the UCH gained a big approval for its full ratification by the Republic of The Gambia. The Gambia joined UNESCO in 1971 and since then the Gambia has ratified four UNESCO Conventions. This new Convention ratified made it the fifth.
In a three hours debate, the member of parliaments unanimously without a single opposition to the ratification said by ratifying the convention The Gambia will be able to protect its resources underwater cultural heritage including the wharfs, wells, and settlement that are along the river Gambia and Atlantic coast from Kartong to Koina.
The Minister of Tourism and Culture, Honourable Hamat NK Bah gave a very passionate prayer on the ratification, he said the ratification by the Gambia will promote local tourism sustainable tourism, health protect of our vast cultural heritage and also generate employment for the youth.
The Parliamentarians together with the Honourable Minister of Tourism commended the good efforts done by the National Centre for Arts and Culture and all its stakeholders including the parliament select committee on arts culture and sports. In an extension to also the UNESCO Dakar and the National Commission for UNESCO Banjul for the stakeholder engagements they have been able to do so as to make the convention understood and appreciated by all stakeholders.
In his reaction, the Director General of the NCAC, Hassoum Ceesay, described it as another milestone to the Gambia efforts to protect its cultural heritage. He said everything will be done to work with the UNESCO and stakeholders to make sure that the Gambia start to reap the fruit of the convention such as capacity building in archeology in museum studies in underwater diving and also to make sure that the communities around the river Gambia have their sites fully protected and conserve to benefit them and the country.