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'Dates connected the Arab World': UNESCO recognises the fruit of the desert

A worker carrying palm oil fruits at a plantation in Saudi Arabia [NurPhoto/Getty]

Date of publication: 11 December, 2019

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Date palm, and its traditions and practices, has made it on UNESCO's list of intangible cultural heritage.
UNESCO recognised the pivotal role of date palm in the cultures of the Middle East on Wednesday.

"Date palm, knowledge, skills, traditions and practices" was inscribed on UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity at its fourteenth committee session.

The United Nations agency, which seeks to secure the world's cultural and natural heritage, announced the news by congratulating 14 Middle Eastern countries on Twitter for their culture of date growing.

"The date palm, knowledge, skills, traditions and practices have played a pivotal role in strengthening the connection between people and the land in the Arab region, helping them face the challenges of the harsh desert environment," UNESCO said.

"This historic relationship in the region and the element has produced a rich cultural heritage of related practices between people in the region, knowledge and skills maintained to this day."

Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, UAE and Yemen were all recognised in connection to date palm.

The countries will now have to submit a report to the UNESCO committee every six years on the measures they have taken to safeguard "the intangible cultural heritage in their territories". 

Date palm and its traditions was inscribed on the Intangible Heritage list at the fourteenth session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, which met in Bogota, Colombia from 9 to 14 December.


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