On November 18 2020, colleagues from UNESCO’s Africa Unit of the World Heritage Centre (WHC), Field Offices in the Africa region, as well as from the African World Heritage Fund (AWHF), met online for their periodic meeting concerning the progress of the implementation of the 1972 World Heritage Convention in Africa.

The discussion focused on UNESCO’s longstanding Priority Africa Initiative, the AWHF’s short and long-term vision for the continent, and the results of the recently concluded Third Cycle of Periodic Reporting exercise in the region. The meeting is a continuation of collaboration and support of UNESCO to the AWHF. Participants of the meeting identified the need to establish  flagship projects that would provide the opportunity to implement more effectively the aims of Priority Africa, in view of promoting Aspiration 5 of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 initiative: ‘An Africa with a strong cultural identity, common heritage, shared values and ethics. Discussion also centered on the need to better communicate, monitor, and coordinate the Priority Africa initiative.

The AWHF’s activities have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The destabilising effect of the global health situation has made it necessary for the organisation to postpone or move online a number of important events. Despite these setbacks, the AWHF continues in its work to implement the 1972 Convention on the African continent.

The last item on the agenda was the recently concluded Third Cycle of Periodic Reporting exercise in the Africa Region. For the first time in the history of Periodic Reporting, the WHC received back 100% of questionnaires sent to site managers and regional focal points. The WHC has begun its analysis of the data collected, and will disseminate a summary report of the exercise to site managers by the end of November for their consideration.