Safeguarding of transboundary heritage sites for sustainable development and peace in Africa
The first regional meeting on "Transboundary Cooperation for effective management of World Heritage Sites in Africa" was held from 11 to 15 February 2019 in the city of Man (Côte d'Ivoire), located at 100 km from the Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve, the first African transboundary property inscribed on the World Heritage List.
Funded by the Netherlands Funds-in-Trust, the main objective of this activity was to exchange knowledge and share experience on the management of various transboundary and transnational World Heritage sites in Africa, including the use of traditional knowledge.
During this workshop, 29 working papers were presented in the presence of about 60 experts, site managers, technical and financial partners, academics, and representatives of the private sector from 20 African countries. 40 institutions involved in African heritage management were represented.
The various sessions provided an opportunity to discuss current and planned initiatives at the transboundary sites inscribed on the World Heritage List, including the Maloti-Drakensberg Park (South Africa, Lesotho), W-Arly-Pendjari Complex (Benin , Burkina Faso, Niger), Sangha Trinational (Cameroon, Congo, Central African Republic), Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Guinea, Ivory Coast) and Mosi-oa-Tunya / Victoria Falls (Zambia, Zimbabwe). In addition, the experts discussed about African sites that could eventually be proposed for extension or nomination to the UNESCO World Heritage List. In addition, the role of the World Heritage Convention in promoting transboundary cooperation was analyzed and priorities for improving the effective management of transboundary properties in sub-Saharan Africa defined.
This meeting, which ended with a field visit to the Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve, assessed the efforts of the two States Parties (Guinea and Côte d'Ivoire) to protect the property, empowering local communities and promoting transboundary cooperation. It was also an opportunity for participants to discuss with local communities their level of involvement in the management of the property as well as the main challenges they face.
On this occasion, Mr. Edmond Moukala, Chief of the Africa Unit of the World Heritage Center, said that:
"For UNESCO and its partners, including all stakeholders, focusing on African transboundary sites is about promoting regional integration, reducing poverty, strengthening social cohesion, fostering sustainable development, innovation and peace, among peoples.»
The World Heritage Center plans to capitalize on all these good practices in a forthcoming publication. The recommendations will also be incorporated into the next Action Plan of the Third periodic Report for Africa Region Period.
This activity was organized by the UNESCO Unit of the UNESCO World Heritage Center, in close collaboration with the UNESCO Office in Abidjan, the State Party of Côte d'Ivoire represented by the Ivory Coast Parks Office and Reserves (OIPR), Advisory Bodies (IUCN and ICOMOS) and the African World Heritage Fund (AWHF).