On 22 January 2021, the Sultanate of Oman signed an agreement with UNESCO in the amount of Euros 583,566 to provide support for capacity-building of nomination projects and promotion of World Heritage sites in five Eastern African countries: Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Somalia and United Republic of Tanzania. The three-year capacity-building programme will support the updating of the Tentative Lists of these countries, assist in the preparation of robust nomination files, and strengthen national capacities to implement the 1972 World Heritage Convention concerning the Protection of the World Culture and Natural Heritage.
“We reiterate our commitment to enhance and further the collaboration between UNESCO and Oman under the leadership of “His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik” stressed H.E. Dr Hamed Al-Hamami, Permanent Delegate of Oman to UNESCO.
Jean-Yves Le Saux, Director of the Bureau of Strategic Planning of UNESCO, expressed, on behalf of the Director-General, sincere gratitude and thanks to Oman for this new contribution aiming at supporting the African region, being one of the two global priorities of the Organization and consistent with the objectives of the Agenda 2030 and the 2063 Agenda of the African Union.
The Africa region remains largely under-represented on the World Heritage List with only 96 properties (less than 9% of all sites, compared to 48% in Europe/North America and 24% in the Asia and the Pacific Region). Eastern Africa boasts 34 natural and cultural World Heritage properties inscribed on the World Heritage List. Nevertheless, Comoros and Somalia are not yet represented. This project will support these countries in developing nomination dossiers.
The capacity building to be developed in this project will enhance sustainable conservation and effective management of these monuments.
The overall objective of the programme is to improve representation of the Africa Region on the World Heritage List not only by developing nomination dossiers and enhancing skills of heritage practitioners, but also by strengthening networks, sensitizing actors in the field of cultural and natural heritage, and closer involvement of local communities and stakeholders in order to increase the number of East African World Heritage properties. This is among the objectives and main actions of Priority Africa. At the same time, the programme will contribute to the implementation of target 11.4 of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda: “Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage” and Aspiration 5 of the African Union 2063 Agenda: “An Africa with a strong cultural identity, common heritage, values and ethics”.