In 1999, the SHA established the UNESCO Committee to monitor negotiation of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage. With its adoption at the 31st General Conference in 2001, the committee's role changed to supporting its international ratification and implementation, and the adoption of its Annex as a "best practices" document, even in areas where ratification is unlikely. The Convention entered into force on 2 January 2009, and now additional emphasis is placed on facilitating training opportunities and public awareness. We are actively seeking NGO accreditation for SHA and the Advisory Council on Underwater Archaeology (ACUA) with the Meeting of States Parties, and monitoring development of the Operational Guidelines. The Committee cooperates with the ACUA, the ICOMOS International Committee on Underwater Cultural Heritage (ICUCH), and UNESCO to promote ethical and scientific underwater research worldwide, to endorse international standards, and to support training and capacity-building.
Among its initiatives, the SHA UNESCO Committee coordinates a letter-writing campaign, with letters sent under the SHA President's signature in support of committee goals. Between 2006 and 2011 nine letters were sent to U.S. Federal Agencies suggesting that they incorporate the 2001 Convention Annex into their documents and guidelines, and all agencies sent favorable replies. Following are links to the letters and the replies received from US Federal Agencies: