On 10 January 2013, UNESCO and the Fondation Franz Weber of Switzerland signed a five-year agreement to reinforce support for the Rapid Response Facility, and to develop a new project for the sustainable preservation of the Dja Faunal Reserve in Cameroon.
The partnership will reinforce the ability of the Rapid Response Facility (RRF) to respond to serious risks to World Heritage sites. Created in 2006, RRF is a small grants programme jointly operated by the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and Fauna & Flora International. It aims to protect natural World Heritage sites in times of crisis by providing financial resources quickly and flexibly to address emergencies affecting sites and surrounding areas.
The main objective of the Dja Faunal Reserve preservation project is to improve the site’s state of conservation, and to preserve its biodiversity through encouraging the involvement of local communities, namely the Baka peoples, in the management of the property. Another objective of this action is to improve the Baka peoples’ living conditions. Inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1987, Dja Faunal Reserve is one of the largest rainforests in Africa, with 90% of its area left undisturbed. It contains 107 mammal species, five of which are threatened.
The Fondation Franz Weber manages the Fazao-Malfakassa National Park in Togo, and also participates in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) conferences.
World Heritage partnerships with the private sector aim to raise awareness, mobilize funds, and allow the implementation of activities for the conservation of World Heritage sites. This is the first partnership between UNESCO World Heritage Centre and the Fondation Franz Weber.