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GIZ, UNESCO launch project for employment, cultural heritage protection in Petra

By JT - Mar 03,2020 - Last updated at Mar 03,2020

AMMAN — The UNESCO Amman office and the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) on Monday hosted a launch event in Petra commemorating the initiation of a new project for protecting cultural heritage in the area. 

The “employment opportunities for safeguarding cultural heritage in Jordan” project seeks to promote sustainable socioeconomic development in the Kingdom via a two-pronged approach, focusing on investing in cultural heritage preservation and creating short-term decent job opportunities, according to a UNESCO statement made available to The Jordan Times.  

The event took place at the College of Tourism and Archaeology at Al Hussein Bin Talal University in Petra. 

According to UNESCO, the agency is implementing the project alongside AVSI, a non-profit organisation carrying out development and humanitarian projects throughout the world, with experience in Cash for Work (CfW) project implementation. 

The project provides short-term employment opportunities to vulnerable Jordanians and Syrian refugees living in host communities located in the vicinity of the Petra World Heritage Site and Rihab village near Mafraq, both of which are “rich in archaeological heritage”, the statement said. 

On-the-job training will be provided to CfW beneficiaries, improving their future employability. 

The statement added that the German Jordanian University has developed the Site Maintenance and Tourism Development Plan for the world heritage site of Petra. 

This initiative benefits from “strong technical support” provided by the Department of Antiquities, according to the statement. 

In Petra, the project will undertake cleaning of the two upper sides of the Siq, together with two trails that are targetted for rehabilitation: The Unayshu trail and the back trail from Little Petra to the Monastery. 

Delivering opening remarks, Park Commissioner of Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority Majed Hasanat reaffirmed the commitment of the authority to collaborate with partners to achieve collective objectives, aligned with the strategic outlook adopted for tourism sector development in Petra. 

Speaking on behalf of UNESCO, Project Officer Cristina Menegazzi said: “By promoting greater community engagement in the rehabilitation and conservation of the heritage sites in Jordan through this initiative, UNESCO aims to encourage local ownership of these sites.”

Aladdin Alhiyasat of GIZ thanked partners and beneficiaries for their “strong engagement” in realising the project. 

He noted that the project is part of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development's special initiative titled "Tackling the root causes of migration, stabilising host regions, supporting refugees". 

The project will contribute to the employment of refugees and people in need from the host communities, while promoting social cohesion and sustainable development in the region, he said in the statement.


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