The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) have signed a pioneering agreement that opens a new chapter for cultural collaboration, chartering the course for a new phase in AlUla’s long history as a nexus for cultural exchange and development. The agreement was announced at the 45th UNESCO World Heritage Committee, chaired by Saudi Arabia in Riyadh this month. It launches Phase 2 of the five-year umbrella accord that RCU and UNESCO signed in November 2021 encompassing heritage conservation and interpretation, safeguarding intangible and tangible cultural heritage, engagement, capacity-building, and creative arts.
Phase 2 of the partnership focuses on two main projects: an Integrated Cultural Programme for the development of AlUla, and the advancement of the UNESCO/Kingdoms Institute Fellowship Programme focusing on heritage and archaeology.
The RCU-UNESCO Integrated Cultural Programme, which is the centrepiece of the new agreement, will over the next two years provide technical assistance and capacity building, support in the development of international networks, and enhance visibility and recognition of cultural heritage and creativity as a driver of AlUla’s sustainable development. It will also address the role heritage and creativity can play in building sustainable cities and regions, building social capital through a culture-engaged, people-centred development model for AlUla.