Buenos Aires Draft Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage (1994)


The Draft includes 23 articles and related commentary regarding the protection of the underwater cultural heritage. It defines the nature of the underwater cultural heritage, the legal (ownership) status of underwater heritage and the establishment of cultural heritage zones. The Convention applies to heritage that has been under water for 100 years or more though State parties may choose to include heritage that has been submerged for less than 100 years. The Convention does not include warships in its scope. The Convention recommends actions to be taken regarding seized underwater cultural heritage. States are encouraged:

  • to collaborate together in investigation, research, documentation, conservation, and promotion of this heritage,
  • to disseminate information using international databases, and
  • to develop educational programs to raise public awareness of the value of underwater cultural heritage and the threats that it faces.

Provisions for dispute resolution are included.