Rabat (UNA-OIC) – Director-General of the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) Dr. Salim Mohammed AlMalik met here on Thursday with Ambassador of Yemen to Morocco Ezzedine Al-Asbahi, to explore cultural and heritage cooperation between ICESCO and the country.
During the meeting, Al-Asbahi submitted to AlMalik a formal request from the Yemeni Ministry of Culture to inscribe elements of Yemen’s intangible cultural heritage on the Islamic World Heritage List, with special focus was on the “Song of Sana’a” (al-Ghina al-San’ani) and the “Palm Tree: traditions, skills and practices”. These two elements are on UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. UNESCO added the “Song of Sana’a” and the Palm Tree File, a joined file from 14 Arab countries, to the list in 2008 and 2019, respectively.
The ICESCO chief welcomed the Yemeni request, promising to examine and submit it to the Islamic World Heritage Committee at the earliest. He added that the aesthetic features, beautiful rhythms, and unique lyrics of the “Song of Sana’a” are distinguishing features from other musical genres, and described the “Palm Tree” as an authentic Arab heritage.
Al-Asbahi informed the director general of the current disconcerting state of heritage in Yemen due to the heavy rain in the country during the last period. He stated that the inclement weather caused landslides in some historic sites and the collapse of four historic buildings in the Old City of Sana’a, which are included in the World Heritage List.
The Yemeni diplomat noted that the impact of climate change adds to a long list of dangers threatening the country’s heritage. He also explained that 74 out of 114 of the 500-year-old dragon trees, found in Socotra Island, are under the threat of extinction in the next 100 years if the environmental situation in the region persists.
The two parties agreed on the importance of joint action to safeguard the Yemeni heritage, as a substantial addition to human heritage and civilizational legacy for future generations.