Joint efforts for the preservation of World Heritage in Mozambique
Dutch and the Flemish Governments join Japan, UCCLA and Portugal in financing the San Sebastian Fortress rehabilitation project
On 18 December 2008, the Government of Mozambique and UNESCO signed two plans of operation for projects funded by the Netherlands and Flanders Funds-in-Trusts supporting the rehabilitation of the San Sebastian Fortress. Since its inscription on the World Heritage List in 1991, Ilha de Moçambique has suffered continuous decay to the extent that today many buildings are threatened with collapse. Therefore, the international community has been called upon to support the State Party in its efforts to preserve its World Heritage. Japan, UCCLA and Portugal financed the initial phase of the rehabilitation project of the San Sebastian Fortress, one of Mozambique's most emblematic monuments originating from the 16th century. It is one of the most complex current activities for the preservation of Ilha's built heritage. Flanders and the Netherlands now ensure the continuation of the works until May 2009.
In particular, the Netherlands will contribute over a four-year period to recovering the fortress' remarkable rainwater collection and storage system, in order to provide a safe water supply for the local population. This will also prepare the fortress for re-use as an educational research facility for heritage conservation.
The Flanders project concerns several conservation activities on the Island, including the preparation of a survey of the Island's state of conservation, the Island's Management Plan and promotional activities. The project's main activity is devoted to the rehabilitation of the fortress and its water system and particularly to the complete restoration of a building block hosting the visitors centre.
Representatives of both donor countries, namely the Ambassador of the Netherlands and an emissary of the Flemish Government, were present at the official ceremony for the signature of the two plans of operations at the Ministry of Education and Culture in Maputo.