On 28 October 2020, the World Heritage Centre (WHC), in collaboration with the African World Heritage Fund (AWHF) started the Data Analysis and Report Synthesis Online Workshop in the framework of the Third Cycle of Periodic Reporting in the Africa Region.
More than 35 participants from the AWHF, WHC, Advisory Bodies and international heritage experts met online for three days to discuss and work on the methodology for data analysis and synthesis, following the results of the Third Cycle of Periodic Reporting exercise in Africa. The meeting initiates the process to review the first draft regional report and to outline recommendations as well an initial Action Plan for the implementation of the 1972 Convention in the Africa Region.
Ms Mechtild Rössler, Director of the WHC, opened the workshop by congratulating the group for the 100% submission of the Periodic Reporting online questionnaires in the Africa region. She stressed that it was the first time the region has achieved this since the launch of Periodic Reporting in 1998. Despite substantial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Focal Points and World Heritage site managers, with the support of the WHC and the coordination team from the AWHF, found ways to continue their work and submitted on time. Ms Rössler highlighted the resilience of the Africa region, the commitment of National Focal Points and site managers, as well as the fruitful collaboration of the AWHF, assisted by the coordination team, Advisory Bodies, UNESCO Field Offices of the Africa region, and the WHC. She also emphasised that the exercise offers an opportunity to enhance the implementation of Agenda 2030 as well as Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want. As such, this is part of UNESCO’s Global Priority Africa.
Mr Souayibou Varissou, Executive Director of the AWHF joined Ms Rössler in congratulating the team for their achievements. He reminded the participants that the success is a demonstration of the strong collaboration between the WHC and the WHF. Reflecting on the consequences of COVID-19 on the exercise, the director of AWHF also highlighted the importance of a discussion on how to build sustainable institutions and organisations, and how to use new technology for innovation in the sustainable conservation and effective management of African World Heritage. He confirmed that the outcomes of this cycle will add to the AWHF strategic plan for 2022.
Ms Ishalosen Odiaua, Regional coordinator from the AWHF shared the status of the implementation of the exercise including adjustments due to COVID-19, challenges and achievements, and the key issues raised during past meetings.
The mentors of the coordination team also shared the implementation experience in the different sub-regions, highlighting their respective challenges and adapted strategies to assist States Parties in completing the questionnaires. Ms Corinne Forest, Mentor for cultural heritage in Eastern and Southern Africa, presented the preliminary results of analysis of Section I of the questionnaires, completed by National Focal Points. The preliminary results illustrated different aspects of the implementation of the World Heritage Convention at a State Party level. The participants ended the session by discussing progress, deficiencies, and new challenges.
The Data Analysis and Report Synthesis Online Workshop continued from 28 to 30 October to discuss the results analysis at the level of World Heritage sites, and preparing the outline of the Regional Action Plan.