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Africa Nature

Africa nature: a capacity building program for natural World Heritage in Africa

The Africa Nature capacity building program was launched in 2011 to improve management effectiveness at natural World Heritage sites in Africa. It will target site managers of the 39 existing natural properties in Africa and will address major gaps in site management, pointed as a major stake for the sustainable conservation of those sites.

The program is designed to help site managers improve their management and monitoring processes to better address the serious threats and conservation challenges observed at many of those sites, among which 32% are inscribed on the List of World Heritage in danger. Climate change, invasive species or physical resource extraction are among the numerous conservation challenges identified through the Second Cycle of the Periodic Reporting in the Africa region carried out in 2010-2011. The Africa Nature program will not directly address those threats, but will be a significant contribution to address some of their underlying causes.


Programme document for the implementation
of the Africa Nature Programme from 2014 to 2017

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The program is implemented by UNESCO World Heritage Centre, IUCN, the UNDP/GEF Small Grants Programme and the African World Heritage Fund. It was officially adopted by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session in 2011 and will be implemented within a six year timeframe as part of the Africa Periodic Reporting Action Plan 2012-2017.

The program will function as an umbrella for a number of projects and initiatives that support the overall objectives. Therefore, further cooperation and synergies will be sought with existing initiatives and training activities.


Within this overall program, a 24 months start-up phase has been designed. It will focus on building capacity and carrying out management effectiveness assessments in a selection of sites, developing a stakeholder network of site managers and their direct partners, and delivering capacity building on engaging local communities in site conservation and addressing some key conservation issues identified through the periodic reporting such as risk preparedness. The project will include both technical training – through targeted capacity building workshops – and on-the-job training.

The start up phase of the programme is supported by the implementing organizations UNESCO, IUCN, the UNDP/GEF Small Grants Programme and the African World Heritage Fund with additional financial contributions from Governments of Flanders (Belgium), the Netherlands and Spain.

Date Start: 2012
Decisions / Resolutions (1)
Code: 35COM 10A

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined document WHC-11/35COM/10A,

2. Recalling Decisions 33 COM 11C and 34 COM 10B.1, adopted respectively at its 33rd session (Seville, 2009) and 34th session (Brasilia, 2010);

3. Expresses its sincere appreciation to the States Parties from the Africa region for their efforts in preparing and submitting their Periodic Reports;

4. Notes with satisfaction that all the 44 States Parties of the Africa region participated in the completion of Section I of the Periodic Reporting questionnaire and that all 78 World Heritage properties in the region were reported on;

5. Commends the Governments of Senegal, Cameroon, Kenya, Namibia and South Africa for respectively hosting various meetings for the Periodic Reporting exercise;

6. Thanks the Governments of Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands and France, as well as the African World Heritage Fund and the Nordic World Heritage Foundation for their support;

7. Also thanks in particular, the Regional Coordinator, all Focal Points and site managers for their commitment and participation throughout the periodic reporting exercise;

8. Also notes the successful use of the electronic tool and the ensuing pertinent documentation gathered in the World Heritage Centre database for future monitoring and follow-up;

9. Welcomes with satisfaction the synthesis report of the Africa region States Parties and encourages the development of a regional Action Plan as agreed by the States Parties at the final Regional meeting in South Africa and thanks the government of Denmark for its support towards this process;

10. Strongly encourages publication of the synthesis report of the Africa region States Parties to ensure its wide distribution in the region, and calls on the international community to support this action;

11. Decides that significant modifications to boundaries and changes tocriteria (re-nominations) requested by States Parties as a follow-up to theSecond Cycle of the Periodic Reporting Exercise will not fall within the limit of two nominations per State Party per year imposed byParagraph 61 of the Operational Guidelines, while they will still fall within the overall limit of forty-five complete nominations per year.This decision shall apply for the 1February2012 and 1February2013 deadlines for the Africa region, after which time the normal limit established in Paragraph 61 will be resumed;

12. Further notes the States Parties' request for concerted efforts to effectively address the conflicting interests of conservation and development needs and requests the World Heritage Centre to organise, in partnership with the African World Heritage Fund, a special meeting on managing the impacts of development activities and resource extraction in and around World Heritage properties in the Africa region;

13. Recognises the valuable role played by local communities, including indigenous peoples, in the management of cultural and natural heritage properties in Africa and also requests that research programmes on African World Heritage properties should also focus on the involvement of the local communities in their implementation and derivation of direct benefits;

14. Takes note of the initial work undertaken by the two regional training institutions, Ecole du Patrimoine Africain and Centre for Heritage Development in Africa, to propose a Capacity Building Strategy, and calls on the international community to continue the support to these two institutions so that they can continue to play a vital role in the implementation of the Convention in the region;

15. Encourages States Parties to focus on national train-the-trainers programmes to ensure that the impacts of the global World Heritage Capacity Building Strategy are maximised at national level while fully involving young professionals in these activities for long term sustainability;

16. Also welcomes the role that the African World Heritage Fund (AWHF) has been playing in the implementation of its mandate and calls upon African States Parties to reinforce their financial and human resource support for the Fund;

17. Also calls upon African State Parties to avail themselves of the opportunities for International Assistance as offered by the African World Heritage Fund;

18. Further requests the States Parties to continue to work closely with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies to further develop the regional and sub-regional Action Plans into an operational Regional Programme including priorities, time tables, and budgetary implications for the African States Parties, tailored to sub-regional needs, and finally requests the World Heritage Centre to present the Action Plan, the Africa Nature and Africa 2020 programmes to the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session in 2012.

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