The President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, Maaouya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya, the Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura and the World Bank's Vice President for Europe, Jean-François Rischard, will open a conference and an exhibition at UNESCO Headquarters celebrating the cultural heritage of Mauritania and its ancient cities of Ouadane, Chinguetti, Tichitt and Oualata, on April 11 (opening at 11 a.m., Room II).

The event is organized by UNESCO's World Heritage Centre, the Mauritanian Government's Cultural Heritage Project Unit and the World Bank, in cooperation with the Permanent Delegation of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania to UNESCO and the support of France. It celebrates the four Mauritanian cities, which were inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1996.

During the afternoon (2.30 - 6.30 p.m.), a conference will present the results of international cooperation under the 2002 Convention signed by UNESCO, the Government of Mauritania and the World Bank to implement the Pilot Project "Safeguarding and development of the world heritage Mauritanian cities". Other components of Mauritania's Cultural Heritage Project will also be presented.

Still on April 11 (11.30 a.m. Lobby of Room I), President Maaouya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya, the Director-General of UNESCO and the World Bank's Vice President for Europe will open the travelling exhibition "Cities of remembrance - Ancient ksour of Mauritania", which presents the work accomplished in ancient cities under this tripartite cooperation agreement. The works of French photographer Philippe Caumes illustrate the life of those cities and the different phases of project implementation.

The exhibition will remain on show at UNESCO through April 14. It will then travel to the Adrar Museum in Atar (Mauritania), which is in the process of being rehabilitated with funding from the World Bank and technical support from UNESCO.

A documentary film produced as part of the Mauritanian Cultural Heritage Project will be screened continuously in the Lobby of Room II from April 11 to 14.

A publication on the work of the "Safeguard and Enhancement of Mauritania's Cultural Heritage Project" will be available to journalists.