The UNESCO World Heritage Centre expresses its heartfelt sympathy after the fire that, on the morning of 18 April 2021, broke out on the edge of Cape Floral Regional Protected Areas (South Africa), a property inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2004.

UNESCO is in contact with the relevant national authorities who will assess the damage and impact of the fires which gutted the Jagger Reading Room in the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) library.

The blaze gutted a small part on the edge of Table Mountain National Park, one of the thirteen protected area clusters of natural properties inscribed on the World Heritage List as the Cape Floral Regional Park World Heritage property, inscribed as a serial property on the World Heritage List. These elements make Cape Floral Region one of the world’s great centers of terrestrial biodiversity and a “hotspot” of global significance.

The authorities are still assessing the extent of the destruction of UCT’s Special Collections which include among others printed and audiovisual material on African studies.