Minister Hamat N.K. Bah did the submission on Friday, 10 November 2023 at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France.
Minister Bah was assisted by the Director General, NCAC, Hassoum Ceesay, Director General GT Board Aboubacarr S. Camara, National Commission Secretary General, Mai Sidibeh, and Ambassador Ebrima O. Camara of The Gambia in France to hand over the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage 2001, and the UNESCO Convention on the Prevention of Illicit Transfer of Cultural Goods, 1970 to the UNESCO Director General’s representative Mr. Ottone Ramirez, Assistant Director for Culture. The solemn took place at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.
In 2022 and early 2023 the National Assembly of The Gambia unanimously ratified the two Conventions in expression of The Gambia’s strong attachment to cultural and heritage conservation and protection.
Speaking to this reporter from Paris, Hassoum Ceesay, Director General of the National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) said the ceremony was uniquely significant because it expresses the readiness of the Government to increase its international obligations towards cultural protection and revival.
The two ratifications, he said, mean that The Gambia has now ratified five of the seven UNESCO Conventions, which he said was a feat worthy of note. “Ratification will help us to join other State Parties of the Conventions to support culture in the country. We can benefit from the wide array of support available to State Parties such as the repatriation of Gambian cultural objects found abroad, and the conservation and mapping of our Underwater Cultural Heritage (UCH)”.
DG Ceesay thanked Minister Bah for his steadfast support and the National Commission for UNESCO The Gambia, ECOWAS, and the UNESCO Dakar Office for West Africa and Sahel for the assistance they have given The Gambia towards advocacy for the Conventions’ ratification.