The World Heritage Centre in collaboration with the five field offices in the African region (Abuja, Dakar, Harare, Nairobi and Yaoundé) and the African World Heritage Fund has organised four online workshops, between 27 November and 3 December 2020, with site managers from each of the African sub-regions in order to share and discuss the preliminary outcomes of the Periodic Reporting questionnaire, submitted by the States Parties last July. The four sessions have been planned as follows:
- Western Africa (27 November) – site managers from Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia (observer), Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone (observer), Togo.
- Central Africa and Lusophone, Francophone countries from other regions (1 December) – site managers from Angola, Burundi, Cabo Verde (observer), Chad, Cameroon, Comoros (observer), Congo, Djibouti (observer), Gabon, Equatorial Guinea (observer), Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Mozambique, Rwanda (observer), Sao-Tomé and Principe (observer), Guinea-Bissau (observer).
- Southern Africa (3 December) – site managers from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
- Eastern Africa (4 December) – site managers from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritius, Seychelles, Uganda, Somalia (observer), South Sudan (observer), United Republic of Tanzania.
The aim of these workshops is to bring the African site managers together to reflect on the Third Cycle of Periodic Reporting. They have succeeded by 100% in filling out and submitting their questionnaires under exceptional circumstances, having been directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic during the reporting exercise. The Director of the World Heritage Centre, Dr Mechtild Rössler during her opening speeches at the first and second workshop commended the efforts made by the site managers which “demonstrate the determination and continued commitment of the African region's actors in the implementation of the World Heritage Convention, as well as the strong and fruitful synergies that exist between them”.
This series of meetings has as its main objectives the collection and consolidation of site managers’ contributions to the ongoing preparation of the draft Action Plan for the Third Cycle (2022-2027), and the strengthening of the implementation of the World Heritage Convention as an instrument to promote sustainable development and Priority Africa, in line with Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want. As such, site managers are invited to suggest priorities and actions to promote sustainable conservation and effective management in Africa.
The importance of the establishment of a network of site managers in the region is also being emphasised as a step to enhance capacity development and exchange of knowledge, as well as the establishment of a professional body to share best practices in the implementation of the 1972 Convention in Africa.