UNESCO and the Ministry for Culture in Comoros have joined forces to carry out a project for "Capacity-building in Sustainable Tourism Development and Management for World Heritage in the Comoros" financed by the Netherlands Funds-in-Trust to UNESCO, which will be carried out in partnership with the National Centre for Scientific Research and Documentation (CNDRS) starting in September 2020 as part of the country’s ongoing efforts to prepare their first World Heritage nomination file for the Historic Sultanates of Comoros, and also as part of UNESCO’s Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) Action Plan.
The project aims to raise national capacities of key stakeholders in Comoros, notably the national team preparing the nomination file for the Historic Sultanates of Comoros, to develop a sustainable tourism management plan and implementation strategy for the promotion of the culture sector in Comoros using UNESCO’s Sustainable Tourism Toolkit, expertise and other resources of the UNESCO Sustainable Tourism Programme, and implementing a pilot training activity for local tour guides for the Historic Sultanates of Comoros.
UNESCO’s Sustainable Tourism Programme for World Heritage offers an opportunity to strengthen the enabling environment in Comoros by advocating policies and frameworks that support sustainable tourism as an important vehicle for managing cultural and natural heritage. This could be achieved through broad stakeholder engagement for the planning, development and management of sustainable tourism that follows a destination approach and focuses on empowering local communities. Although the programme is primarily focused on World Heritage sites, its tools and methodologies could also be applied broadly across the culture sector in order to eventually develop a comprehensive and forward-thinking sustainable tourism development and management plan for Comoros.
For almost 10 years, Comoros has been working on the research and documentation necessary to prepare their very first nomination file for the Historic Sultanates of Comoros, including through an International Assistance project approved by the UNESCO World Heritage Fund in 2018, which is currently underway, and previously through an inventory project funded by the France-UNESCO Cooperation Agreement in 2012. This new project will complement the work already carried out on the sites, and will strengthen the management plan for this unique serial site by including a sustainable tourism management plan as part of the overall management and conservation plan for the proposed World Heritage property.