On 2 April 2009 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris Mr Francesco Bandarin, Director of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, signed an agreement with INRAP, the French National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (Institut national de recherches archéologiques preventives). The Letter of Intent was signed by Mrs Nicole Pot, Director of INRAP and Mr Jean-Paul Jacob, President of the Institute, was also in attendance.

The Letter of Intent provides a strategic framework in which the parties agree to cooperate and contribute to the conservation of sites and monuments inscribed on the World Heritage List. It aims to oversee effective and preventative conservation measures at World Heritage sites and for World Heritage sites in Danger through preventive archaeology programmes and reinforcing capacity in this domain.

The letter refers to documents of the General Conference of UNESCO relative to the protection and conservation of cultural and natural sites, in particular through effective application of the World Heritage Convention.

The parties have identified areas where their joint efforts can support national authorities in protecting World Heritage sites around the world, and particularly in countries in development, with Africa a priority.