Law plays a critical role in the society as it serves as a norm of conduct for its people. Today, the world is faced with the challenge of globalization, technological innovation, and cultural growth. However, despite the developments, UAE has a well-developed legal system and regulatory framework that significantly encourages both local and international community to invest and do business in UAE (Matias 2016). As a result, the UAE recognized the need to develop the law that will protect the cultural monuments which were facing extinction due to the establishment of business enterprises. In this regard, the UAE established a legislation to preserve the cultural heritage, and the move has resulted to the renovation of more traditional buildings. In the previous years, the old structures were demolished to create space for the development of new and using the current architectural designs. Moreover, the law offers guidelines among its citizens and enhances equality among all the people. Additionally, it ensures the society is smoothly running, and an ideal lifestyle since people appreciate their cultures and identify the role it plays to identify them uniquely. As a result, the United Arabs Emirates found it worth to enactment a law on architectural conservation in UAE, significantly meant to protect and safeguard historical buildings, the archaeological sites, and the peoples cultural practices.
The UAE architects, heritage conservationists, archaeologists, historians and governments officials found it worth to develop the law. The law saw the UAE fulfill one of the primary mandates of UNESCO accreditation. Therefore, the enactment of the legislation was to prevent demolishing historic buildings (Mazzarella 2015). Previously, UAE used to destroy old structures and hence, adoption of the law resulted from lessons learned from the previous experiences. Indeed, modernization of towns from the ancient settlements, previously muds wall has been facilitated by the availability of wealth accumulated from oil exports. Additionally, the demand for modernized structures for businesses purposes has resulted in the demolition of traditional structures. As a result, most of the historic buildings have been cleared to pave the way for construction of malls, skyscrapers, residential buildings, wide boulevards and extensive road network. Therefore, with the availability of resources UAE has experienced unparallel growth making Abu Dhabi be one of the developed cities in the world.
Components of the law
The law on monuments and tourist attraction sites governs the preservation and the distinct traditions and customs offered by the diverse local communities. The code initiates measures that are meant to safeguard the UAE culture and to establish museums (Almehairi 2015). Notably, the law also provides for acquisition, transfer, ownership and temporary shifting of traditional artifacts and ancient documents out of UAE. Additionally, it offers the measures to be taken in case of any archaeological discovery regarding reporting of finding to the appropriate authorities. The law allows the establishment of two separate records for tangible and intangible cultural heritage. Substantially, the government in collaboration with the other concerned authorities is developing measures that will seek to include the intangible monuments in educational institutions as a curriculum. This will greatly instill on the need to embrace and appreciate the cultural heritage among the students.
Again, the performance of specific acts regarding historical sites is prohibited not unless an individual has obtained permission from the appropriate authorities. These particular activities may include the transfer of ownership, registration of tangible heritage, infrastructural developments around cultural sites and conducting any investment, commercial, industrial or scientific activities around these places. Markedly, the law states that archaeological excavation is solemnly the activity of the state not unless one is granted the license and carries out the work under supervision. Notably, the law also declares that any archaeological discovery made will be the exclusive ownership of the state. Any crime associated with cultural heritage with being highly penalized.
Significance of the Law
The law will substantially help the UAE in the restoration of the historic sites according to the international standards. As a result, Dubai municipality developed a twenty-year plan aiming at the renovation of the landmark building. The implementation plan targeted restoration of two hundred and thirty buildings by 2010. However, so far only 105 building has been successfully restored. Notably, enactment of the law will see some of the major sites like Shindagha, Hatta Heritage Village and Bastaki forwarded to UNESCO tentative list of heritage sites in UAE (Melotti 2014). Importantly, UAE offers a unique culture due to its rich and diverse ethnic groups. Furthermore, being dominated by Arabic-Islamic ethnic group, UAE provides the best and unique architectural designs particular in windows, decorative stucco and gates.
Notably, the new heritage preservation law will ensure the protection of sites, ancient documents and traditional buildings, and antiquities. As a federal law, it will be enforceable in all the small emirates that make up the UAE, Abu Dhabi, Aiman, and Dubai, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, Umm al-Quwain, and Fujairah. Substantially, the law will see more than three thousand and two hundred sites; ancient documents and artifacts are protected. For instance, Albadiyah Mosque in Fujairah is the oldest mosque in UAE. It is among the sites on the tentative list of heritage sites in UAE.
Figure 1; Albadiyah Mosque in Fujairah.
Source: http://www.theheritagist.com/2012/12/uae-promotes-new-heritage-protection.htmlPreviously, before the development of the law, the UAE lacked a unified regime concerned with protecting the heritage sites and the ancient objects. However, some emirates like the Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi had established their regulations that preserved their traditional architecture (Melotti 2014). Unfortunately, the law did not provide a unified scheme concerned with protecting the heritage buildings from destruction or regulating their sale. As a result, development and implementation of the new law provide rules as well as penalties for the criminals who vandalize or destruct cultural properties.
Currently, the law will provide cultural sites listed with UNESCO unlike before when only a few places were recorded. The desert oases of Al Ain and Jebel Hafeet in Al Ain Abu Dhabi were the only cultural sites in UAE that had been ascribed to the UNESCO list of world heritage (Melotti 2014). With the law in place, Dubai is working hard to ensure Dubai Creek is listed among the natural heritage sites found in the World heritage.
Figure 2: Dubai Creek in Dubai.
Source:https://www.google.com/search?q=dubai+creek+images&rlz=1C1CHZL_enKE763KE763&tbmDesert Oases of Al Ain found in Abu Dhabi
Importantly, the Al Ain Oasis acts as a central element in the UAE monuments and has significantly propelled majority of changes in Al Ain. For instance, it has played a vital role in offering the human settlement and providing water to people. As a means to restore the cultural heritage in UAE, a proposed improvements on the Al Ain Oasis will consist of six oases which are: Al Ain, Mustard, Muwaiji, Hili, Qattara and Jimi Oases. These will form a magnificent view of the Al An Oasis due to their cultural landscape made of palm groves, the traditional building that acted as defense towers, falaj irrigation systems, and mosques (Almehairi 2015). The presence of the oases will offer a symbolic value of the national heritage in UAE, peoples culture, and their unique architectural designs. Additionally, the settlements in Al Ain will reflect the peoples traditions and lifestyles, the ecological value in the urban green areas and also, socioeconomic value through tourism. However, before the enactment of the law, the oases had faced several challenges. As a result, it did not play its decisive role in Al Ain as it uses to, before the pre-Oil era. The post-Oil era has resulted into reduced agricultural productivity and crops regimes have also been affected (Almehairi 2015). Additionally, the oases have faced the challenges of urban encroachment with building in and around them. Indeed, the prevention law is bound to protect the historical sites from physical interventions. This will significantly assist in the prevention of loss os traditional knowledge that was used to design and develop theses cultural heritage sites.
Figure 3: Desert Oases of Al Ain found in Abu Dhabi
Source: http://www.theheritagist.com/2012/12/uae-promotes-new-heritage-protection.htmlJebel Hafeet in Al Ain, Abu Dhabi
Notably, Jebel Hafeet is a mountain located in Al Ain in Abu Dhabi. It forms some parts of the mountain straddles that border Oman. The hill forms the highest peak in the Emirates and the second in UAE. This rocky mountain is forged out of limestone that has undergone weathering over millions of years. Over the years, significant discoveries have been made on the hill which is vital in the ancient history of UAE. Additionally, over five hundred old burial tombs have been discovered dating back over five thousand years ago. The graves marked the beginning of the Bronze Age (Mazzarella 2015). Also, the Jebel Hafeet tombs differ from the Umm an-Nar tombs since they were made from the local roughly cut stones. As a result, Jebel Hafeet is an important historical site that offers insight into the practices of the ancient people in UAE. Therefore, the mountain provides the most suitable experience, especially in driving and cycling around the mountain. Significantly, the top of the hill offers a magnificent view o Al Ain. However, this beautiful view is faced with the challenge of being interfered with by scientists in the exploration of water beneath the mountain. It is therefore essential to understand the crucial role and timelessness of the law in protecting the monuments and historical sites.
Figure 4: Jebel Hafeet in Al Ain, Abu Dhabi
Source: http://www.theheritagist.com/2012/12/uae-promotes-new-heritage-protection.htmlSignificantly, the newly developed law on protection of the monuments and historical attractions is timely and brings with it the much-needed development. Establishment of regulations protecting culture is always a good and in particular for countries that are experiencing vibrant development growth like UAE. Failure to enact such laws will lead to loss of archaeological sites and cultural structures will be lost quickly due to extensive construction and development. Importantly, the bill signifies the birth of a new regime that will see the protection of the monuments through stricter penalties for law violation. At the same time, the law will allow room for the needs regarding national growth (Mazzarella 2015). Apparently, for effective law enforcement, the UAE not only need to have the written law, but it will also need to be adamant to effectively and efficiently enforce the law.
Indeed, the law to protect the monuments and historical attractions was majorly driven by the need to uniquely identify the people of UAE and develop an exciting story of the people. Additionally, protection of cultural heritage goes beyond buildings and objects, and as a result, the law will focus on protecting and preservation of all cultural memories and social processes. Once successfully tried, the bill will lead to increased tourists who will be of economic value to the nation. Moreover, it offers the UAE with the opportunity to realize that monuments and attract...
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