Conflict in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has been a dominant theme over the past half century; yet, cultural heritage continues to be generally overlooked by mainstream post-war reconstruction practices and policies – perceived and treated as a luxury that cannot be afforded by societies coping with multiple overriding priorities during conflict. After analysing the inherent interconnectedness of war and cultural heritage, this paper unearths nine specific deficiencies in policies, practices, and their implications. It then draws upon the efforts to protect and recover cultural heritage, and broader processes of post-war reconstruction, to offer ways forward through critical lessons that seek to advance academic discourse and act as guidance for good practice. These lessons emphasise the need for: a shared vision; integration of cultural heritage into the wider responses; sustained political and financial support; local capacity; participation of Indigenous actors; recognition of complementarity between replacement and conservation approaches; prioritisation of quality over speed of recovery; conservation codes and legislation; and finally, appreciation of belief and religion.

This Open Access Article is available from the International Journal of Heritage Studies.

To cite this article: Barakat, S. (2020) Necessary conditions for integrated approaches to the post-conflict recovery of cultural heritage in the Arab World, International Journal of Heritage Studies.