May 16, 2010

The Japanese Expert Team dispatched by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to the Project for the Conservation Center in the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM-CC) will organize workshop on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for four consecutive days on May 16, 2010 through May 19, 2010.

The 4-day workshop aims at obtaining master knowledge and skills; firstly to prevent insect attacks in storages and other related areas, secondly to deal with fungi and insects attacks occurred. Twelve Egyptian conservators in charge of IPM in the GEM-CC will attend the workshop where they will receive intensive theoretical and practical lectures to be delivered by top Japanese experts specialized in IPM.

One of significant subjects in a museum and storage for preserving cultural properties is sheltering from fungal and insects’ damages. This kind of damage occurs in countries where they have high levels of temperature and rainfall especially in the summer, e.g. Japan, and they have kept making effort of a control measure since old times.

Japan had widely kept employing “Methyl Bromide (CH3Br)” to fumigate fungal and insects when those attacks occurred during the last half century. However, it was banned to use the gas for fumigation due to one of depletion causes the ozone layer since 2005 in the great number of countries like Japan, USA and some European countries. In addition, some other chemicals were also prohibited its usage because of possible damage to health. Accordingly, the current global standard for avoiding fungal and insect attacks has shifted to “Integrated Pest Management (IPM)” revolving around prevention rather than dealing with what had happened.

It is presumed that less numbers of insect attacks occurs in Egypt where has a dry climate comparing with a temperate climate in Japan. However, Egypt possesses different types of sensitive excavated artifacts to sustain insect attacks e.g. wooden objects, papyrus and textiles. It possibly suffers in either cases when in wet condition just after excavated and when is placed at possible condensation in a building. Furthermore, it can be seen that some cultural properties in Egypt had been damaged by insect and/or fungi when observed in depth.

This workshop is a part of the technical cooperation project of JICA in partnership with Egyptian Ministry of Culture, namely, the Grand Egyptian Museum Conservation Center Project. Japan has been supporting capacity development of the conservators of the Grand Egyptian Museum for the last two years, in addition to a provision of a loan of 35 billion yen for the construction of the Grand Egyptian Museum. So far, JICA has conducted several workshops on conservation of various materials such as paper, textile and metal in Egypt, and many Egyptian conservators have been to Japan for l training.