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International Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage

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Chapter Summary

The United States strongly supports the protection and preservation of underwater cultural heritage (UCH) for future generations, both domestically and internationally. With respect to jurisdiction, the United States and the maritime States opposed the original draft Convention originally co-sponsored by UNESCO and the United Nations Division of Ocean Law and Policy because, in effect, it would have established a "cultural heritage zone" beyond 24 miles and the outer edge of the continental shelf. On the positive side, the Convention does establish strong legally binding international scientific rules and standards similar to the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) Charter that would govern all activities directed at UCH. The United States continue to protect UCH through small multilateral agreements regarding important wrecks such as the RMS Titanic.

Keywords: international council on monuments and sites (ICOMOS); maritime states; underwater cultural heritage (UCH) protection; UNESCO; United States



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