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“Digital Belt and Road” Initiative Sets up International Working Group for Protection of Heritage

Date:2017-10-31

The Digital Belt and Road Initiative (DBAR) has set up an international working group for DBAR-HERITAGE on March 13, aiming to using space technologies for the protection of heritage especially in the Belt and Road regions. The launch ceremony of the working group was followed by an academic seminar, which was jointly organized by the International Centre on Space Technologies for Natural and Cultural Heritage (HIST) under the auspices of UNESCO, and the International Society for Digital Earth (ISDE), and was attended by over 60 experts or decision-makers in the fields of spatial information technology, geological sciences, archaeology and heritage protection, from the countries including Australia, Cambodia, Congo (Kinshasa), France, Italy, the US, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Uzbekistan, and China, or international organizations including UNESCO.
Prof. GUO Huadong, Chair of DBAR’s science committee, pointed out in a keynote speech that world heritage is precious strategic resource while its cultural diversity and biodiversity is greatly challenged by the risks brought by global change. He held that the international working group for DBAR-HERITAGE is committed to promoting applications of space-based Earth observations in archaeology and heritage protection along the BAR regions by bringing together scientists, decision-makers, and related practitioners, therefore achieving the scientific protection and sustainable development of the heritage along the Belt and Road region. To achieve this goal, Prof. Guo held that it is necessary to integrate Earth observation data for sharing, analysis, and understanding, to strengthen connection between governmental decision-makers and scientists, and to build a talented team among young scientists in the field.
The International Working Group for DBAR-HERITAGE is co-chaired by Prof. WANG Xinyuan (CAS-RADI, China), Prof. Rosa Lasaponara (CNR-IMAA, Italy), Prof. Shahina Tariq (COMSATS-CIIT, Pakistan), and Prof. Houcine Khatteli (IRA, Tunisia). The working group consists of 20 experts from 15 organizations, including CNR-IBAM, COMSATS CIIT, APSARA, IRA, UAS, TAS, and HIST, and several research institutes and universities in China. 
The working group has laid priority areas for space archaeology and heritage conservation, suggested strengthening the collaboration among the countries and regions along the BAR for jointly promoting the spatial observation and cognition research on World Heritages, and supporting scientific protection, utilization and sustainable development.
Prof. Zhang Bing, Deputy Director of RADI, the host institute of DBAR and HIST, stressed on in his opening remarks the significant role of using Big Earth data and space technologies for DBAR. Prof. Zhang briefed about RADI’s advantages in applying Earth observations for heritage protection and about HIST’s experiences in international collaboration and in working with a variety of stakeholders at home and abroad. Prof. Zhang also expressed his best wishes for the establishment of International Working Group for DBAR-HERITAGE.
The seminar covered such topics as the characteristics of the heritages along the BAR regions, techniques and methods of using space-based technology in archaeology, world heritage conservation and related tourism development.


Prof. GUO Huadong gives a keynote speech and announces establishment of working group for DBAR-HERITAGE.


Co-chairs of the DBAR-HERITAGE Int. Working Group.


A scene of the seminar.


Group photo.