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Together for our cultural heritage

Our commitment to the protection of underwater cultural heritage cannot stop at national borders. At least 3 million shipwrecks and uncounted settlement sites, which show the history of humankind's appropriation of nature and the resulting social processes, lie under the surface of the oceans. Trade relationships, political interests and disputes, life on board, and the development of shipbuilding can all be understood from these sources.

Preservation of all these remains is endangered by traffic and tourism projects, by oil and gas exploitation, by offshore wind farms, dredging and treasure hunting. Outside the territorial waters, protection by German national legislation ceases, and even within the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) extending 200 nautical miles beyond the coasts, no protection can be ensured.

Ever since its formation, the DEGUWA has supported the efforts of the international community (EU and UNESCO) to protect and preserve the cultural heritage under water in international legislation. In 2001, the UNESCO adopted the "Convention on the Protection of the Uderwater Cultural Heritage" that came into effect in 2009 after ratification in 20 member states.

Until today, Germany has not signed the Convention.

The DEGUWA is campaigning for Germany as a nation of culture to at last embrace its role in the protection of the cultural heritage at sea. To this end, the DEGUWA initiated a national awareness campaign with a collection of signatures for a petition in the German legislative body, the Bundestag. Successfully so: the petition was adopted by the Petitions Committee in the summer of 2010.

In 2011, the "Conference of the States Parties to the UNESCO Convention 2001" accredited DEGUWA as a cooperation partner of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) carrying out activities related to the scope of the Convention.
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