Within the Africities 2003 congress, the UNESCO World Heritage Centre is organizing a special session on "African Cities and Heritage", to be held on Thursday 4 December 2003.

Bringing together African and European mayors and parliamentarians, as well as representatives from universities and groups devoted to international cooperation this session will be the occasion to open a discussion with African mayors on the economic, social and cultural contributions heritage protection can make towards local development, to share experience with good practices, and to evaluate the heritage conservation needs of African cities. A series of workshops will attempt to demonstrate how the unique cultural and heritage assets of African cities can drive development, and will outline technical and financial tools municipalities can use to preserve and promote their heritage. It will mark the official launch of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre’s initiative for African cities.