The UK has no current plans to ratify the 2001 UNESCO Underwater Cultural Heritage Convention, it was confirmed by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on 31 October 2017.
The 2001 UNESCO Underwater Cultural Heritage Convention is intended to enable States to protect their submerged cultural heritage. The Convention sets out basic principles for the protection of underwater cultural heritage, provides a detailed State cooperation system, and practical rules for the treatment and research of underwater cultural heritage.
The decision was announced in a written ministerial statement by the Minister for the Arts, Heritage and Tourism, John Glen MP. While not taking forward a review of the statement due to other priorities, Mr Glen stated that the UK Government remains committed to the Annex in the Convention.
Mr Glen recently signalled the UK Government’s intention to review the UK position on the UNESCO Convention in response to a Parliamentary Question from Mr Kevan Jones MP (Labour, North Durham).
The UK Government has also been asked by the Earl of Clancarty whether it intends to ratify the 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. While the UK also has no current plans to ratify the Convention, Lord Ashton of Hyde said in response “the Government fully recognises the contribution that the UK’s oral traditions, social practices and festive events make to the country’s cultural fabric”.