BURLINGTON HOUSE DECLARATION
Adopted at a seminar hosted by the Society of Antiquaries of London, Burlington House, London, on 28 October 2005
In the year that marks the bicentenary of Trafalgar, one of the most significant sea battles in history, the marine historic environment community of the United Kingdom:
Conscious of the great diversity and richness of underwater cultural heritage within UK Waters and of Britain’s maritime heritage around the world,
Deeply concerned by the lack of a comprehensive international regulatory framework for the marine historic environment situated beyond the territorial limits of sovereign States,
Recognising that Her Majesty’s Government may only act in accordance with international law,
Mindful of the duty, to protect archaeological and historical material found in all sea areas and to co-operate for that purpose, placed upon the United Kingdom and other States Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982 by Articles 149 and 303(1) of that Convention,
Welcoming the support of Her Majesty’s Government for the general principles and objectives of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage 2001 (hereafter the “2001 Convention”), particularly those set out in the Annex, and noting that the Rules in the Annex represent internationally accepted standards of archaeological good practice,
Convinced that the 2001 Convention represents
Calls upon Her Majesty’s Government to:
1. Re-evaluate its position regarding the 2001 Convention with a view to considering how its specific reservations to that convention may be overcome; in particular, consideration should be given to:
2. In the interim, pursue the general principles and objectives of the 2001 Convention to the maximum extent possible within the confines of existing international law. To this end, Her Majesty’s Government is specifically urged to:
(a)Ensure that the Rules in the Annex to the 2001 Convention are applied to activities directed at the marine historic environment which are licensed by Government Departments or regulated by Statute;
(b) Co-operate with the Director-General of UNESCO, States Parties to the 2001 Convention, and the International Seabed Authority, in their implementation of the Convention when it enters into force;
(c) Continue especially within the framework of the 2001 Convention its policy of concluding bilateral or multilateral agreements for the protection of specific aspects of the marine historic environment situated outside the territorial limits of the United Kingdom and give active consideration to how it might co-operate with other States to utilise fully such agreements in the interests of the marine historic environment.
(d) Explore the desirability of declaring a contiguous zone, referred to in Article 33 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982, in order that measures to regulate the removal of archaeological and historical objects from the seabed in that zone may be introduced, in accordance with Article 303(2) of that Convention. In so far as such measures are introduced, Her Majesty’s Government is urged to ensure that activities are regulated in accordance with the Rules in the Annex to the 2001 Convention.
(e) Ensure that the proposed Marine Bill takes into account and mitigates to the full extent as necessary the impact of marine activities on the marine historic environment.
Her Majesty’s Government is urged to enter into discussions at the earliest opportunity with its heritage agencies, relevant non-governmental organisations and other interested parties with a view to taking these matters forward.