From the Egyptian Cultural Heritage Organisation :
"The changing transregional political situation in North Africa and Western Asia has been putting cultural heritage at risk on a scale not seen since the late 1980s to early 1990s when the Iron Curtain was removed that separated Eastern and Western Europe during the transition from communism to democratically elected parliaments and greater social freedom. Some of the main challenges to protecting cultural property that Eastern Europe faced were the lack of administrative continuity, government funding, and enforceable laws and regulations in the field of cultural heritage management. A similar situation is now unfolding throughout North Africa and Western Asia as many countries try to change from authoritarian regimes to greater social, political and economic freedom. Many of the problems, such as looting and vandalism, are just increased risks that are faced on a daily basis in peace times, others such as the speed of development projects, including the building of dams in the Sudan need special attention. This ECHO Workshop is designed to bring archaeologists, cultural heritage managers, developers, politicians, antiquities traders, collectors, conservators and other stakeholders together from around the region to discuss ways of preventing looting, vandalism, destruction and stealing of cultural property. How effective has the UNESCO 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict been in these recent developments? The 1954 Hague Convention came into being as a result of World War II, however, as the type of conflict now being fought has changed since 1945 it seems an appropriate time to re-evaluate the procedures in place to protect the world’s cultural heritage. The UNESCO 1970 Paris Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property and the UNESCO 1972 Paris Convention Concerning Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage and how they have been implemented and can be improved are also relevant due to recent events."