UNESCO launches Africa Nature programme
On 1 and 2 October 2012, a workshop took place in Nairobi, Kenya to launch the UNESCO Africa Nature Programme, which was developed following the results of the second cycle of Periodic Reporting in Africa (2010-2011).
The Africa Nature programme aims to improve the management effectiveness of the natural World Heritage sites in Africa through targeted capacity building and knowledge sharing. The programme is a collaborative effort by the World Heritage Centre, the World Conservation Union (IUCN), the African World Heritage Fund, and African institutions in charge of natural heritage. Additional financial partners include the Governments of Flanders (Belgium) and Spain.
The Kenya workshop was attended by 30 experts from twenty African State Parties to the 1972 UNESCO World Heritage Convention, site managers of natural World Heritage sites, regional training institutions as well as staff of UNESCO, IUCN and the African World Heritage Fund, and reviewed the different components of the 2-year start-up phase of the programme. Discussions focused on the need to apply the “Enhancing our Heritage” management effectiveness methodology to all of the African natural World Heritage sites in order to make significant progress in the state of conservation of these sites before the next cycle of the periodic reporting. This methodology was developed and tested in 9 pilot sites across the world and experts attending the meeting considered that the tool is now ready to roll out across the African natural sites on the World Heritage List.
The meeting agreed to start this process in a first group of 10 sites, which will be included in the start-up phase and stressed the need for a strong engagement both at the national and site level to ensure sustainability of the exercise. Participants also stressed the need to develop a network of knowledge sharing between the African site managers and to make available best practice guidelines on management issues through this network.
The meeting concluded that the Africa Nature Programme will be an important collaborative effort between State Parties, the World Heritage Centre, IUCN, AWHF, the training institutions and other stakeholder to jointly strengthen the conservation of the African natural World Heritage sites. It expressed its appreciation to Flanders (Belgium) and Spain for its support to this programme and called upon other donors to join in the further development of the programme.