In 2010, the Government of Flanders (Kingdom of Belgium) signed an agreement with UNESCO establishing a Trust Fund that will, among others, support the World Heritage Marine Programme activities. In addition to general programme support, the funds will be used to increase the credibility of marine sites on the World Heritage List and enhance management effectiveness of sites already inscribed. To this end, the following activities will be implemented:
- Development of a baseline assessment of management effectiveness in marine World Heritage sites. The assessment will form part of a roadmap for capacity building in marine World Heritage sites
- Development of practical guidance to ensure a more ecosystem-based approach to the management of marine World Heritage sites. Several marine World Heritage sites suffer from activities which occur in the immediate surroundings of the sites boundaries. An ecosystem approach to the management of marine World Heritage sites is one way to increase protection from such influences and better protect the core values of the site
- Development of a regional overview of potential areas with Outstanding Universal Value in the Indian Ocean, with a focus on areas under jurisdiction of African countries. As concluded in the 2010 Bahrain Action Plan on Marine World Heritage, several marine areas are currently underrepresented on the World Heritage List of which this one
- Strengthening the foundation for the development of a strong, solid and sustainable World Heritage Marine Programme over the next decade.
The programme will work together with the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ), UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) through its ICAM Programme and International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE) and a number of regional and local entities for the implementation of these activities.
The results will particularly benefit marine site managers of both existing and potential marine World Heritage sites in economically less developed countries and countries in transition. It will specifically enhance capacity on World Heritage site nomination in African countries around the Indian Ocean.