On September 17, 2021, within the framework of the International Cultural Forum “Central Asia at the Crossroads of World Civilizations”, an international archaeological conference “Archeology and Tourism: Identifying Potential and Managing Heritage” was held in Nukus. The joint effort by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the National Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO and the International Institute for Central Asian Studies (IICAS) under the guidance of the Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan Mr. Aziz Abdukhakimov and with the support of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Karakalpakstan became the key to the success of such an important event for the country and the region.
The conference turned into a platform to discuss the study, safeguarding, use, promotion and sustainable management of cultural heritage and, in particular, archaeological sites. The potential of archaeological sites to act as a catalyst for the development of cultural tourism at the national, regional and international levels was in the focus.
Over fifty iconic specialists, well-known experts and practitioners in the field of archeology and heritage were invited to participate in the events. During the plenary and panel sessions, presentations were made on both scientific and cultural exchange, the establishment of intercultural dialogue and cooperation, and the contribution of historical and cultural heritage to the development of social and humanitarian sciences.
The format of the conference was designed to ensure direct communication between the participants and the organizers. In particular, in the course of the plenary session moderated by the Director of IICAS Dr. Dmitriy Voyakin, the Vice Prime-Minister Mr. Aziz Abdukhakimov answered a number of relevant questions by the participants.
The Central Asian Declaration of the Principles of Archaeological Heritage Management was anonymously adopted. The Declaration had become the first strategic document developed in Central Asia and reflecting the common vision of national governments and the academic community regarding the safeguarding and promotion of archaeological heritage.