Qatar Museums (QM) and the University College London in Qatar (UCL Qatar) announced a ground-breaking partnership that will deliver a new legal framework to the cultural heritage of Qatar, helping move the country forward to realising the ambitions of Qatar National Vision 2030 (QNV 2030).

QM and UCL Qatar have worked successfully together for several years, but this new partnership is set to be one of the most significant yet. In the coming months, senior leaders from both institutions will draw on internal and external expertise from organisations like UNESCO, to modernise cultural heritage laws currently protected under the Law on Antiquities No 2, published in 1980.

By bringing the existing legal framework in line with internationally recognised standards, the new comprehensive law will strengthen Qatar’s relations with global institutions, enhancing the country’s reputation as a leading cultural centre worldwide.

In developing the framework, QM and UCL Qatar will be examining multiple facets of heritage protection best practice, including taking a detailed look at these four key areas:

  • Defining and providing a mechanism towards establishing privately owned museums, which will provide a major boost to Qatar’s cultural tourism offer
  • Delivering the means to provide immunity from seizure to artefacts and antiques during movement in and out of Qatar
  • Modernising the legislation pertaining to archaeology and excavation
  • Rephrasing the processes related to QM in such areas pertaining to movement of cultural property, heritage registration and custodianship

QM UCL Qatar

The framework will draft regulations to define how heritage is protected and preserved in cases of natural disasters or man-made damage. It will also deliver a blueprint for a new Competent Authority for the State of Qatar. This new Authority will operate within QM and will be entrusted to oversee the implementation and monitoring of the law, in coordination with other relevant government agencies.

The project was recently inaugurated at a two-day workshop attended by officials from QM and UCL Qatar, and by representatives of several government offices, UNESCO and experts from the University of Siena and University of Geneva.

The first day focused on developing a shared definition of different types of heritage relevant to Qatar, examining recent developments in heritage protection. The second day explored the range of legal protection for heritage, such as the illicit trafficking of cultural property and protection of heritage during armed conflict.

According to Acting CEO at QM, Ahmad Al Namla, Qatar is an ambitious and fast developing country, one that is embracing change and progress in a way that also respects its past.

This project is aimed at modernising the existing heritage legislation, so that we can maximise the social and socio-economic benefits of arts and culture. It will ensure that we continue to be a leading cultural centre, not just in the region but globally. We look forward to working with government stakeholders in the coming months and drawing on the unrivalled expertise of the UCL team.”

Director of UCL Qatar Sam Evans said that over the last eight years, QM has been a pivotal partner for UCL in the task of developing cultural heritage programmes that help realise the tangible and intangible value of the county’s investment in arts and culture.

We’re incredibly proud to be working with them yet again on such an important national initiative: an initiative that is paramount to protecting and promoting Qatar’s heritage and delivering Qatar National Vision 2030.’

Visit the websites of QM and UCL Qatar for updates and more information about their ground-breaking partnership.