Cultural Initiatives in North Africa and the Middle East
Under the initiative of the Lazaar Foundation for Art and Culture, a meeting was held in Foundouk El Attarine, in the medina of Tunis, to think about means of action that members of civil society can raise urgently to participate in the preservation of the medina. The Medina of Tunis, classified as an International Heritage Site, requires the involvement of all to ensure its promotion and development.
The first meeting took place on Saturday, 29th March, 2014 and brought together Tunisian citizens, actors, researchers, dwellers and activists to call the attention to the threats facing this unique heritage. On that day, in Fondouk El Attarine a call was made to emphasise the urgency of:
1. Revising laws and regulations:
– Classify the Medina of Tunis as a protected sector and develop a plan for its safeguarding and development.
– Classify buildings with high architectural and urban value as well as public and private value, to save them from destruction, subdivision and looting.
– Introduce the concept of "perimeter of real estate restoration" as an instrument requiring individuals to undertake restoration.
2. Encourage private initiatives to invest in heritage
– Introduce tax breaks, grants, credits, etc.
– Encourage cultural sponsorship.
– Create public and private partnerships while introducing targeted pilot projects
– Facilitate the establishment of guest houses and boutique hotels.
– Launch project calls to safeguard specific monuments under threat
3. Promoting cultural tourism:
– Classify Medina as "tourist area".
– Reinstate the tourist office.
– Encourage existing festivals and transform them to perennial events.
– Create a label for tourist facilities in the Medina.
– Develop projects and cultural tours.
4. Promoting the traditional economic activities of the Medina:
– Encourage local crafts.
– Check the compatibility of new activities with the Medina.
– Enforce the system of organisation of the souks.
5. Reinstate and protect the aesthetics of the Medina:
– Make incentives to keep the area clean and penalties for littering and destruction.
– Propose to local inhabitants a system of maintaining their buildings and rules to follow in their renovation works.
Present in the meeting: