Take advantage of the search to browse through the World Heritage Centre information.

Inventory of Cultural Heritage in Gabon

Geographical focus

Gabon currently has two properties inscribed on the World Heritage List, the Ecosystem and Relict Cultural Landscape Lopé - Okanda and the Ivindo National Park, inscribed in 2021 at the 44th enlarged session of the World Heritage Committee (Fuzhou, China).

Its tentative list includes six properties: one cultural property (Ancien Hôpital Albert Schweitzer de Lambaréné) and five mixed properties (Ecosystème et paysage culturel pygmée du massif de Minkébé, Grottes de Lastourville, Parc national des Monts Birougou, Parc national des Plateaux Batéké and Parc National Moukalaba-Doudou) We can therefore observe the presence of only one cultural property, which is a significant gap.

In 2018, the State Party of Gabon submitted a draft revision of its Tentative List to include new sites that could be the subject of a World Heritage nomination process, but the World Heritage Convention and the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the Convention stipulate that any property on a Tentative List must be the result of an inventory.

Thus, although regional inventories were organized by the Ministry of Culture in 2013 and 2016, their results did not allow for a relevant assessment of the nomination potential of the cultural properties identified.  Moreover, the lack of human resources and expertise in the preparation of tentative lists and nominations has been pointed out by African experts as a probable cause of the low representativity of cultural properties on the tentative lists. This project aims both to build the capacity of the teams but also to implement a cultural heritage inventory that will later lead to an update of Gabon's tentative list.  


This project has two main objectives. The realization of a reliable pilot inventory of cultural and mixed sites in Gabon and the organization of a workshop to update the cultural properties on the Tentative List.

To do this, the project consisted of a literature review to identify sites, field missions to establish geo-referenced mapping, documentation and identification of communities or resource persons who own and/or manage the sites, and the drawing up of a list of cultural properties to be included in the Tentative List.

Progress made

  • The Institut de Recherches en Sciences Humaines (IRSH), was identified as a partner for the implementation of the project. Decision taken in consultation with the State Party;
  • A joint working team was set up with researchers from the IRSH and experts from the Ministry of Culture and Arts;
  • Various working sessions were organized, the main ones being held on February 12 and 15, 2021, to examine and select the sites likely to benefit from a pilot survey;
  • A training workshop on the validation of cultural properties was held on March 19, 2021, at the National Museum of Arts and Traditions. The workshop identified three (3) properties that could be the subject of a pilot inventory in the immediate future.
  • A mission went to the region of Fougamou - Sindara from March 29, 2021 to April 3, 2021 to visit the Tsamba and Magotsi waterfalls and the Catholic mission of Notre Dame des Trois Epis de l'Equateur, to meet and exchange with the authorities and administrative and technical personalities of the city, and to collect additional data and information. The mission produced numerous results, including a synthesis of the natural context, a synthesis of the anthropological context and a list of resource persons;
  • The report of the pilot inventory of the site known as the Empress Falls was produced in Fougamou, from April 23 to 30, 2021;
  • The reports of the documentary review of the Bongolo, Camp Malheur and MBénaltembé caves and of the Catholic missions of Saint-Martin des Apindji and Notre Dame des Trois Epis were produced in Libreville from April 23 to 30. 
  • The inventory sheets for the four sites have been prepared. 
  • The tentative list for Gabon will be updated in December 2021.

State party: Gabon

Amount: 10,000 USD

Implementation period: February - June 2021


  • Institut De Recherches En Sciences Humaines (IRSH) Ministry of Culture and Arts
See Also 1
States parties 1
Geographical focus