Private sector urged to help in sites restoration
Abu Dhabi, June 6, 2011
Abu Dhabi is seeking greater participation from the private sector in its efforts to conserve and refurbish its historical and cultural sites.
Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the chairman of Abu Dhabi’s Cultural and Media Centre, told Oxford Business Group (OBG) in an interview that while the authorities were giving great weight to the restoration and maintenance of buildings and sites of historical interest in the Emirates, their efforts would be bolstered by the participation of private companies with specialist skills.
“Construction firms, architectural consultants and structural engineers specialising in restoration projects have the technical expertise in building conservation,” he told OBG. “I think they should be involved further in this process.”
He added that as Abu Dhabi stepped up its bid to become an international centre for cultural excellence, companies involved in the tourism industry could play a key collaborative role by teaming up with the authorities to manage and promote projects of interest to visitors.
“Companies from the private sector can bring in their expertise and means whether in renovation projects or in cultural activities,” he told OBG. “Creating new uses for buildings and sites and integrating them into the structures of the cities would further help in their conservation.”
Sheikh Sultan also highlighted the added dimension that firms could bring to preserving historical sites though corporate social responsibility initiatives. “The private sector could set up foundations to work in collaboration with the authorities to achieve this goal,” he said.
New technology and the younger generation both have a key role to play in preserving and passing on the UAE’s intangible heritage, such as folklore, customs and handicrafts, according to Sheikh Sultan.
“All these require continuous efforts to identify, inventory, catalogue, document and revive because they are vital components of our cultural distinctiveness,” he said. “Modern technology can be used in the archiving process, while involving the youth as much as possible in revival attempts is also important.” – TradeArabia News Service