WB, SCTNH join hands to preserve historic sites

In this file photo, a Saudi man walking at the Archaeological Site of Al-Hijr, also known as Madain Saleh, in northern Saudi Arabia which was added on July 6, 2008 to UNESCO's World Heritage List.

In this file photo, a Saudi man walking at the Archaeological Site of Al-Hijr, also known as Madain Saleh, in northern Saudi Arabia which was added on July 6, 2008 to UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

The World Bank and the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTNH) are working in close cooperation to promote investments for the rehabilitation of historic city centers in the Kingdom, an SCTNH spokesman said on Wednesday.

In partnership with the World Bank, SCTNH started a three-year study to this end, he said.

According to the plan, the current status and obstacles of investment in historic city centers will be studied and analyzed, and the joint team will chalk out reasons for original owners’ reluctance to invest in their old properties.

At a later stage, the joint team will study ways for encouraging investment through offering various incentive packages.

The joint study team will cover selected samples from cities which include Taif, Buraidah, Tabuk, Abha, Hail, Hafouf, Sakaka and Najran.

Meshari bin Abdullah Al-Naeem, general superintendent of the National Urban Heritage Center, recently received here a number of World Bank experts led by Dr. Fouad Malakaui in order to determine the scope of work for the new joint project between SCTNH and the World Bank.

During the meeting, Al-Naeem highlighted the priorities of the commission for launching a new economic sector under the title “Cultural heritage economies” and creating new investment opportunities in this promising sector.

He also discussed with the joint expert group the assigned tasks of each department at SCTNH toward this project to be properly implemented properly benefit from its expected results.

The project, aimed at promoting investments in historic city centers of the Kingdom, falls within the framework of the new directions of SCTNH to encourage investment in the urban heritage sector and to create new economic sectors as announced by SCTNH President Prince Sultan bin Salman at the opening of the 5th Urban Heritage Forum in Al-Qassim in November last year.

SCTNH is working in cooperation with the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs (MoMRA) to rehabilitate city centers in the Kingdom to give them a new look with their historic identities by striking a unique balance between modernity and the rich cultural heritage.

Riyadh Province is scheduled to witness the implementation of seven city center rehabilitation projects under “Kingdom’s City Centers Rehabilitation and Development” scheme to be undertaken jointly by SCTNH and MoMRA.

The city centers rehabilitation projects in Riyadh Province include Al-Diriyah city center development project, Al-Kharj city center development project, the Tamir city center development project, Al-Majma city center development project, the Hotat Midair city center development project and the Shagra city center development project.

These city centers rehabilitation projects are the most important elements of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Program for Caring of Kingdom’s Cultural Heritage.


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