Paris - UNESCO'S Director-General Federico Mayor launched yesterday in Maputo an international appeal to safeguard the Island of Mozambique. He also inaugurated, on behalf of the United Nations System, a trust fund to implement the Agenda for the Sustainable Development and Integral Conservation of the World Heritage Site of the Island of Mozambique. UNESCO is contributing US$100,000 to the fund, said Mr Mayor.

The Island of Mozambique situated in the province of Nampoula, northern Mozambique, was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1991. A strategic port of call on the route to India, major slave market and former administrative capital of Mozambique, the island's architecture forms a unique ensemble which mingles local traditions, Portuguese influence and, to a lesser degree, Indian and Arabic influences.

Mr Mayor declared, after a visit to the island, "UNESCO's international campaigns to safeguard Abu Simbel in Egypt, Borobudur in Indonesia and the island of Goree in Senegal are well known. Hence I am extremely pleased to continue UNESCO's tradition in appealing to the international community to come together in supporting the conservation of the site of the Island of Mozambique, and the sustainable development of its people and its environment.".

The rich history of the Island of Mozambique," he added, "can also be traced in its architectural environment, which reflects different periods and the influences of different cultures. This living testimony to a distinctive community built through diversity has had, and still faces, several difficulties.

"The island has suffered from economic decline and most of its buildings are partially or entirely abandoned. To revive the island's development, UNESCO and the government of Mozambique will establish a Regional Craft Centre and a Youth Educational and Training Centre. The estimated cost for the island's development programme - under UNESCO's technical guidance – is about US$11 million. UNESCO and the government of Mozambique are in the process of organizing a donor's meeting in early 1998.

UNDP created the trust fund with an initial contribution of US$300,000; UNDP's representative in Mozambique, Emmanuel Dierckx de Casterle, announced yesterday a further deposit of US$300,000 for the implementation of the programme. In addition, the government of Finland has provided an associate architect for UNESCO's World Heritage Center.