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UNESCO invests internationally in knowledge and capacity for the underwater cultural heritage, under the terms of the UNESCO 2001 Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage (yet to be ratified by the Netherlands).

The convention is regarded as the international guide for handling and protecting the underwater cultural heritage. However, this does not mean that all countries already have the infrastructure needed to guarantee such protection. In many countries there are few, if any, qualified underwater archaeologists, conservation specialists and staff with an academic background to help protect and preserve this heritage.

Capacity-building programmes are therefore being initiated all over the world to enhance knowledge in this field. The programmes are being run in collaboration with UNESCO’s head offices, in Bangkok, Dar es Salaam, Havana and Venice, for example. This regional spread should make participation in training as accessible as possible for all countries.

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