Despite being rich in sunken treasure, Indonesia is undecided whether to ratify a world convention that protects underwater cultural heritage, a senior official said Wednesday at a workshop for officials and academics in Jakarta.
“Indonesia still needs to carefully weigh up the benefits and consequences of ratifying [the convention],” Hari Untoro Drajat, the Culture and Tourism Ministry’s director general for history and archaeology said.
He said ratifying the UNESCO convention on protection of the underwater cultural heritage needed careful preparation, including adequate legislation, human resources, infrastructure and funding.
The convention was adopted by UNESCO in 2001, and has been ratified by 31 countries as of May this year. Cambodia is the only signatory in Asia.
The convention carries four main principles: The obligation to preserve underwater cultural heritage, in situ preservation preferred, no commercial exploitation, and training and information sharing.
Arief Rachman from the Indonesian National Commission for UNESCO said the third principle has been the most challenging for Indonesia.