The Fayoum Declaration
Participants in The International Colloquium "Natural and Cultural heritage landscapes in the Fayoum: Safeguarding and Management of Archaeological Sites and Natural Environments" held in the Fayoum Oct. 31 to November 2, 2010 recognize the potential for mobilizing cultural and natural heritage of the Fayoum for social and economic development. On the one hand, these invaluable resources are facing serious threats, and, are on the other hand, under-utilized.
The Participants call upon local, governmental and international authorities and institutions to undertake urgent measures to safeguard and improve the management of the threatened Fayoum heritage, and to participate in efforts to valorize and mobilize heritage resources for development. The Participants recommend the inclusion of the management of cultural and natural heritage in all sectors of governmental authorities.
The Participants recommend a set of principles for safeguarding and managing the archaeological and natural resources of the Fayoum, identify urgent actions needed, and recommend an organizational framework to ensure the completion of the proposed activities.
- Heritage resources in the Fayoum include geological, environmental, archaeological, historical, rural, and traditional resources. These resources combined create an outstanding "natural and cultural landscape" as recognized by UNESCO.
- A regional development plan integrating different types of natural and cultural heritage resources is the most appropriate long-term, strategy to safeguard and manage the Fayoum heritage resources in a sustainable manner.
- Safeguarding and managing natural and cultural heritage include documentation, risk assessment, prioritizing, valuing, zoning, monitoring, protecting, preserving, conserving, raising awareness, enhancement, and capacity building.
- The Objectives of heritage management include:
1) valorization of cultural diversity, historical continuities, multiculturalism, and intercultural dialogues;
2) transmission of social values from the past to current and future generations;
3) mobilization of heritage resources for social and economic development to improve living conditions and alleviation of hardships;
4) utilization of heritage resources to cope with current international and global issues, such as climate change, water scarcity, inequities, unsafe migration, and intolerance.
- Preparation of an integrated regional development plan for managing the whole spectrum of natural and cultural resources in collaboration with local communities of the Fayoum including rural heritage, intangible heritage and vernacular architectural heritage. The plan is to be based on an itinerary that includes key heritage sites, geoparks, museums, visitor centers, eco-stations, facilities, certified outlets for services and goods (including B&B, eco-lodges), and scenic routes provided with signs and information posts.
- Protection of threatened sites beginning with enforcement of the protective measures for designated protected areas, and innovative strategies including civic heritage guards, for example, from university youths, buffer zones, site markers, check-points, and electronic sensors.
- Promotion of sustainable agro-, eco- and cultural tourism based on best practices for the protection of heritage resources, the participation of local communities, and optimization of social benefits.
- Provision of necessary training to undertake the proposed activities.
- Fund raising, and arrangement with appropriate financial institutions to provide micro-credit to promote local crafts, services and other activities, as well as provision of technical assistance, and marketing strategies.
- Preparation of pamphlets, brochures, and a web-site and dissemination to the public and visitors of relevant information as well as protective regulations, and strengthening contact with the media.
- Completion of a comprehensive, authoritative GIS-based database to serve in decision making and as an Encyclopedic resource on the heritage of the Fayoum; its geology, plants, animals, history, archaeology, manuscripts, crafts, folk traditions, architecture, arts, fishing and agriculture.
- Recognizing that Gebel Qatrani is already on the tentative World Heritage List, the participants recommend preparation of the file for nomination of the Fayoum cultural and natural landscape on the World Heritage List and to consider other protection lists such for key areas such as the Biosphere reserves and geoparks.
The participants recommend the establishment of a "Fayoum Heritage Consortium (FHC)" of key institutions, authorities and stake-holders with links to international organizations as the most practical organizational framework to achieve the objectives of sound safeguarding and managing of the natural and cultural resources of the Fayoum. Economic Development activities are to be undertaken by entities which will act according to the rules and regulations of the Consortium and in the framework of the principles of this Declaration under the guidance of the Fayoum Heritage Consortium. The Consortium will coordinate the efforts of special task forces entrusted with proposed activities. A steering committee is to be selected to set up the Consortium.