Baghdad DeclarationSixth Ministerial Meeting of Member States of the AncientCivilizations Forum (AC Forum).Baghdad – Republic of Iraq, 4th of December of, 2022.

The Declaration of Baghdad was adopted and signed by the member states who participated in the Sixth Ministerial Meeting of the Ancient Civilizations Forum, which took place in Baghdad/ Republic of Iraq, which was held on 4th of December of, 2022. The forum was attended by the following member states: Armenia, Bolivia, China, Egypt, Greece, Iraq, Iran, Italy, and Peru; as well as delegations of UNESCO, ALECSO, and ISESCO; and declare the following,
We express our gratitude and appreciation for the efforts of the Republic of Iraq for hosting and sponsoring this forum with the assistance of member states of Ancient Civilizations, and relevant international and regional organizations, and renew our solidarity and support to the Iraqi Government, and people, for their efforts to rebuild archaeological sites damaged by terrorist groups.
Giving continuity to the spirit enshrined in the previous declarations of
the Ancient Civilizations Forum (AC Forum), the member states stand today to emphasize the importance of the forum as a significant platform for dialogue and cultural cooperation.
As the Ancient Civilization Forum states continue in their efforts aiming to promote further cultural dimension in international relations, by using civilization and cultural diplomacy to strengthen international solidarity and dialogue, and looking to further expand contributions by the international community.
The meeting allowed for fruitful discussions on the preservation of cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible, and stated the necessity of adhering to the respective multilateral and bilateral agreements, to fulfil internal legislation aimed at preserving cultural heritage and combat illicit trafficking of cultural property. This illegal traffic may come from illegal excavations in archaeological sites, looting of museums, libraries, archives, illegal trade by private collectors, or by acts of vandalism or damage against cultural property, including in areas of armed conflict, that witnessed terrorist acts by terrorist groups, taking into consideration the Preamble of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict that points out ”that damage to cultural property belonging to any people whatsoever means damage to the cultural heritage of all mankind”.
We reaffirm that ancient heritage and the powerful impact of our ancient civilizations, which despite time, remains vivid and relevant in today’s world, we further confirm our will to further strengthen international cooperation in the cultural framework and to use our legacy of ancient civilizations to promote international peace and prosperity.
The participating member states of the Ancient Civilizations Forum agreed on the following:
• Emphasise that the world is witnessing multifaceted and multi-level challenges, hence cultural and civilization dialogue is a fundamental pillar in promoting global peace and achieving sustainable development into modern world;
• Highlight that mutual respect, solidarity, and harmonious coexistence are the right path for the development of human civilization, and calls upon the international community to promote equality, mutual understanding, dialogue and inclusiveness between civilizations, including active participation of intergovernmental organizations, academia and civil society organizations;
• Reaffirms the necessity to protect intangible cultural heritage as defined in UNESCO 2003 Convention on the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, Ancestral Knowledge, and Practices, considering the key role of indigenous communities in creating and preserving intangible cultural heritage, as well as in facing the climate emergency;
• Recognise that the vicissitudes of history deprived many peoples of a priceless portion of this inheritance in which their enduring identity finds its embodiment;
• Emphasise the importance attached by our countries to the restitution of cultural property that is of fundamental spiritual, historical and cultural value to them, so that they may constitute collections representative of their heritage;
• Recognise the importance of adopting crucial measures to protect and preserve the cultural and natural heritage from negative impacts of climate change, biodiversity loss, natural disasters, pandemics and uncontrolled urbanization;
• Express the strong concern on the destruction, looting and appropriation of cultural property, including religious sites and the attempts to deny historical roots and cultural diversity, in particular in the context of armed conflicts, and terrorist attacks, and decided to foster our political coordination in this regard;
• Recognise the interconnection between transnational crime, including illicit trafficking in cultural property with the financing of terrorism;
• Recall the importance of strengthening international cooperation in
order to support the implementation of UNESCO 1970 “Convention on the measures to be adopted to prohibit and prevent the import, export and transfer of illicit ownership of cultural property” and the UNIDROIT 1995 Convention on stolen or illegally exported cultural objects”;
• Commend the significant role of INTERPOL in the context of combating and preventing smuggling and illicit trafficking of cultural heritage, and their exerted efforts in cooperation and networking with other related UN agencies, as well as with states concerned about cultural heritage, ensuring the restitution of cultural objects to their origin countries;
• Focus on the importance of all initiatives aiming to promote intercultural dialogue between and among civilizations and cultures, in particular, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC);
• Welcome the central role played by UNESCO in protecting cultural heritage and promoting culture as an instrument to bring people closer together and foster dialogue, including the process of updating a policy document on climate action for world heritage;
• Recall the mandate conferred on UNESCO by its Constitution of assuring the protection of the world’s inheritance of works of art and monuments of history, and the leading role of the Organization in combating illicit trafficking in cultural property and its role in supporting the restitution of cultural properties to its countries of origin;
• Reaffirm the importance of creating synergies between culture and education, as a means to increase the participation of local communities, especially youth, in the promotion and protection of cultural property and other initiatives;
• Recognise the link between the safeguard of cultural heritage and sustainable tourism, including the preservation of local knowledge and intangible heritage;
• Decide to promote scientific research and academic cooperation, and welcoming the possibility to organize common exhibitions, as well as expert exchanges and training;
• Encourage the growth of digital transformation of our societies, especially in the cultural sector, while at the same time addressing the challenges this entails, to take full advantage of the contribution of new technologies to the knowledge, conservation and management of cultural heritage, as well as to the development of cultural and creative industries;
• Welcome the convening of the Seventh Ministerial Meeting of the Forum in Tehran, the Islamic Republic of Iran.