The Africa region covers the 47 States Parties of the World Heritage Convention in the Sub-Saharan Africa. In line with the Global Priority Africa of UNESCO, the Africa unit of the World Heritage Centre strives to enhance the capacity of the Africa region in the implementation of the World Heritage Convention.
Africa is one of UNESCO’s Global Priorities. The African Renaissance is underway, with the adoption of the African Union Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development paving the ground for the African development.
Total number of properties
© Asmara Heritage Project / Asmara
The World Heritage Committee, at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017), declared in Decision 41 COM 10A, the start of the Third Cycle of Periodic Reporting in the Africa region, in accordance with Article 29 of the 1972 Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. The Third Cycle of Periodic Reporting exercise in the Region involved African States Parties to the Convention and the World Heritage properties inscribed on the World Heritage List, including the sites inscribed by the Committee at its the 43rd session in Baku, Azerbaijan in July 2019.
The reporting exercise took place from September 2019 to July 2020 and 46 African States Parties to the Convention, of which 35 have 96 World Heritage properties inscribed on the World Heritage List, answered an online questionnaire. Several workshops have been organized to facilitate the filling and analysis of the questionnaires. A draft Report and draft Action Plan have been prepared and finalized with all African National Focal Points. The two documents were submitted at the extended 44th session of the World Heritage Committee and were adopted subsequently.
© UNESCO / Xiangling Chen
© Shutterstock / Teo Tarras /UNESCO and ALIPH to rehabilitate Mali’s Bandiagara World Heritage site and support conflict-affected communities
The Africa region has currently 98 properties inscribed on the World Heritage List, including 54 cultural properties, 39 natural properties and 5 mixed properties. Conservation of UNESCO World Heritage in the Africa region is continuously monitored by the Reactive Monitoring mechanism. There are 15 properties are inscribed on the List in Danger. While working to ensure the conservation of all inscribed properties, the Africa unit is working to develop the Desired state of conservation for the removal (DSOCR) for these properties for their eventual removals from the List in Danger.
As the Africa region represents only 9% of the World Heritage List, the Africa unit is also working closely with partners and the African World Heritage Fund (AWHF) to increase the number of sites nominated on the World Heritage List from the Africa region.
- UNESCO and Zanzibar to cooperate in rehabilitation of Stone Town of Zanzibar World Heritage property
- Norway supports animal surveillance in Pendjari and W National Parks (Benin)
- Supporting biodiversity and sustainable livelihoods in Lake Malawi National Park (NFIT)
- UNESCO and ALIPH to rehabilitate Mali’s Bandiagara World Heritage site and support conflict-affected communities
- UNESCO grants emergency funds for reconstruction of infrastructure destroyed after floods and landslides in Rwenzori Mountains
- Safeguarding the Endangered Mountain Gorilla during COVID-19 Crisis
- Emergency response to tragic attack in Virunga National Park
- Supporting Capacity-building for Nomination Projects and Promotion of World Heritage Sites in East Africa region
- Support to the States Parties of Benin and Togo for the preparation of the nomination dossier of Koutammakou, the Land of the Batammariba as a trans-boundary site (China funded)
- Finalization of te mapping and update of the management plan for the nomination dossier for Zakouma National Park on the World Heritage List (China funded)
Desired State of conservation for the removal of a property from the List of World Heritage Danger
© Shutterstock / Abdelrahman Hassanein
In the period of transition toward the new Regional Action Plan to be approved during the 44th extended session of the World Heritage Committee, the Africa Unit of the World Heritage Centre developed a strategic action plan for capacity development in five key areas, namely: (i) Youth & Inclusiveness; (ii) Site Managers & Outreach; (iii) Training and Education Institutions; (iv) Experts and Civil Society; and (v) Institutions and Advocacy. The aim is to anchor the ongoing efforts to implement the 1972 Convention and at the same time to develop favourable conditions for the implementation of the new Regional Action Plan.
The activities will target the children and youth of Africa for them to better understand World Heritage and the 1972 Convention, and to be more involved in the activities related to the implementation of the Convention. Following the experiences of other regions, WHC-AFR will work very closely under UNESCO’s network of youth in the Education Sector.
The activities will support African site managers to create a strong network for sharing experiences and enhancing peer learning, especially to empower them with tools to reach local communities. There will be an emphasis on outreach in order to help site managers to better engage more local communities and civil society in the conservation and management of African sites.
African Site Managers Network: members of the Interim Committee elected
Training and Education Institution
The activities will support the training and education institutions to develop a strong curriculum and network of education facilities and programmes on conservation and heritage management in Africa. The network of UNESCO chairs in Africa will be capitalised for the benefit of the 1972 Convention.
and Civil Society
The activities will support and mentor young experts for them to excel and work with the 1972 Convention. A new initiative will be promoted to groom young experts and facilitate intergenerational knowledge-sharing in the region.
The activities will support States Parties in their efforts to empower local institutions to maintain continuity and institutional capacity with regards to the 1972 Convention. In view of an effective implementation of the 1972 Convention, the States Parties and local authorities will be better informed and further supported to capitalise on the resources of the AWHF, Advisory Bodies and other UNESCO partner networks of professionals.
© OUR PLACE The World Heritage Collection/ David G. F. Smith / Cape Floral Region Protected Areas (South Africa)
In November 2015, the General Assembly of States Parties to the UNESCO World Heritage Convention adopted, by Resolution 20 GA 13, the Policy Document for the Integration of a Sustainable Development Perspective into the processes of the World Heritage Convention.
Subsequently, the World Heritage Committee by Decision 40 COM 5C welcomed its adoption and reiterated the need to achieve appropriate balance and integration between the protection of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of World Heritage properties and the pursuit of sustainable development objectives and called upon States Parties to ensure that sustainable development principles are mainstreamed into national processes related to World Heritage, in full respect of the Outstanding Universal Value of World Heritage sites.
Climate change and Risk management
Communication and promotion
African World Heritage Day
Proclaimed by the 38th session of the General Conference of UNESCO (November 2015), African World Heritage Day (5 May) is an opportunity for people around the world, and particularly Africans, to celebrate the Continent’s unique cultural and natural heritage
- Securing Manovo-Gounda St. Floris National Park
- Securing Manovo-Gounda St. Floris National Park - Phase 2
- Africa Nature
- Biodiversity Conservation in Regions of Armed Conflict: Protecting World Heritage in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Capacity-building programme for the nomination of World Heritage sites in the Africa Region supported by Government of Japan
- CAWHFI Component financed by the European Commission (2016-2020)
- Central Africa World Heritage Forest Initiative (CAWHFI)
- Enhancing the implementation capacity of the 1972 Convention at Natural World Heritage sites
- Finalisation of the Zakouma National Park nomination file on the World Heritage List
- Handbook on Cultural Heritage and Local Development for African Local Governments
- Historic Urban Landscapes Workshops on the Swahili Coast of Africa
- Improving Elephant conservation in the W Benin National Park Complex - Phase 2
- Inventory of Cultural Heritage in Gabon
- Natural World Heritage in the Congo Basin
- Periodic Reporting 1st Cycle: Africa
- Periodic Reporting 2nd Cycle: Africa (2011)
- Strengthening different parts of the nomination dossier of the Diy Gid Biy Cultural Landscape of the Mandara Mountains (extension of the Sukur Cultural Landscape) on the World Heritage List
- Support for the Second Cycle of the Periodic Reporting for Africa
- Support to the States Parties of Benin and Togo for the preparation of the nomination dossier of Koutammakou, the Land of the Batammariba as a Transboundary Site
- Supporting biodiversity and sustainable livelihoods in Lake Malawi National Park
- Peer exchange strengthens Disaster Risk Management for World Heritage in East Africa 16-Dec-2021
- Building a common vision of UNESCO World Heritage in Africa 09-Dec-2021
- Support for the Cultural Heritage Inventory Project in Gabon 08-Dec-2021
- In memoriam: Dr. Joseph Eboreime 02-Nov-2021
- African Site Managers Network: members of the Interim Committee elected 27-Oct-2021
- Establishment of Tentative List of Equatorial Guinea 16-Sep-2021
- Call for Proposals - Capacity building in Risk management and protection systems in Africa 14-Sep-2021
- Call for Proposals - for the Sustainable Management of the W-Arly-Pendjari Complex 19-Aug-2021
- Message from Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples 09-Aug-2021
- Six youth finalists for African World Heritage Day Competition in Eastern Africa 16-Jun-2021
- Workshop of the UNESCO Culture|2030 Indicators’ project implementation 07-Oct-2021
- UNESCO peer exchange shares African experiences in collecting cultural indicators 15-Sep-2021
- Webinar| Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want 05-May-2021-05-May-2021
- Periodic Reporting in Africa: Online Workshop on Data Analysis and Report Synthesis 28-Oct-2020-30-Oct-2020
- UNESCO-Africa-China Forum on World Heritage Capacity Building and Cooperation 03-Jun-2019-04-Jun-2019
- African World Heritage Day 05-May-2018
- Safeguarding African World Heritage as a Driver for Sustainable Development 31-May-2016-03-Jun-2016
- Exhibition - African World Heritage: a pathway for development 18-May-2016-14-Jun-2016
- World Heritage Youth Forum (2016) Africa 28-Apr-2016-04-May-2016
- Culture and Heritage in Danger: Education as a force for resistance 15-Sep-2015-15-Sep-2015