The area of Africa that is present-day Ethiopia has a long history rich in tradition; its sites and monuments bear witness to the civilizations that have had their roots in this territory for more than 2,700 years. The buildings and monuments of Aksum, Gondar, Harar and Tiya reflect periods of great influence, growth and prosperity, while the churches and mosques of Lalibela, Lake Tana, Harar and Adadi Maryam testify to the ingenuity and faith that has given strength to the people of Ethiopia in times of adversity. Considering that these riches are part of the cultural heritage of all humankind, the General Conference of UNESCO has approved the Organization's participation in support of an International Campaign to Safeguard the Principal Monuments and Sites of Ethiopia.
With the help of UNESCO, the Ethiopian Government has initiated and organized a campaign to preserve, restore and present six important sites, four of which are registered on the World Heritage List. With the assistance of the international community and public opinions and through technical and financial organizations and the family of United Nations agencies, the people of Ethiopia are now in a position to achieve their praiseworthy aims. It is my hope that the peoples of the world will continue to show solidarity by contributing the necessary technical equipment, supplies, training and funds that are necessary to restore and preserve these sites and so ensure the success of the Ethiopian campaign.
Selected sites and buildings of historical value have been included in the international campaign. Conservation and restoration will be carried out to make them accessible to national and international visitors, while adapting them to the everyday life of Ethiopians. This will contribute to awareness of the significance of Ethiopian history.
In Ethiopia, the main instrument for cultural heritage preservation and training is the Centre for Research and Conservation of the Cultural Heritage of the Ministry of Culture and Sports which is mobilizing the resources of Ethiopia and of the world community for these activities.
The campaign is being implemented by the Government of Ethiopia guided by the National Committee for the Preservation of Historical Sites and Monuments. The Director of the Centre for Research and Conservation acting under the Committee will administer and implement the promotional and preservation activities of the campaign. UNESCO and the United Nations Development Programme have indicated their support for the campaign, in the form of assistance and advice.