In Africa, natural heritage is often protected and sustained because it belongs to a shared system of belief and culture. Furthermore, many cultural and natural properties are transnational, and are either they are protected by the same shared beliefs or building technics in different countries. This is why it is important to consider African properties for both their natural and cultural components, and in a transnational dimension, as the workshop entitled "Inter-African Meeting on the designation and the implementation of management plans for the transboundary natural properties designated or in the course of being designated as World Heritage sites" highlighted.
Organized on the sidelines of the Vth IUCN World Parks Congress in Durban, South Africa, September 2003, the workshop convened 76 participants (mostly from francophone African countries, 16 of whom received technical assistance under the France-UNESCO Cooperation Agreement to take part in the meeting) who contributed to the definition of future directions and future development of the conservation and management of protected areas, and the development of networks for site managers.
This workshop was a milestone for dialogue on the topic of transboundary and serial sites. The inscription of new serial properties such as the Rainforests of the Atsinanana in Madagascar, or the preparation of new transboundary nominations such as the Sangha Trinational (a forest complex divided between Congo, Cameroon and the Central African Republic, inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2012) are the product of recommendations put forward in Durban. Work on these serial properties is not confined only to natural properties but extends to complex cultural properties as well.
The results of the Vth IUCN World Parks Congress in Durban, South Africa, September 2003 are published in the World Heritage Reports n°16 (January 2005).