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Ministers from Central Africa launch a Call to Action to improve the representation of African cultural and natural heritage on the World Heritage List

Wednesday, 26 October 2022 at 18:00
access_time 3 min read

Gathered in Yaoundé (Cameroon) at the invitation of the Government of Cameroon, the ministers and experts in charge of World Heritage from eight countries in Central Africa (Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon and Sao Tomé and Principe) called on UNESCO and its partners, including the African World Heritage Fund, to support them in implementing concrete measures to strengthen their institutional capacity and professional expertise in the field of World Heritage, with a view to better identify potential sites for inscription on the World Heritage List.

The Yaoundé Call to Action, adopted on the occasion of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention, commends the recent UNESCO World Conference on Cultural Policies and Development MONDIACULT 2022. It also stresses the importance of the protection, conservation, management and promotion of World Heritage sites in Africa, and their contribution to socio-economic development and the well-being of local communities. Finally, the text asserts the need to exploit the digital transformation and the opportunities it offers through new technologies to promote African World Heritage, especially through the involvement of youth. 

The Yaoundé Appeal is a consecration of culture in the Central African sub-region, in its richness, density, diversity and vitality, which is the basis of African cultural influence 

The ministers' meeting follows the meeting of experts from the sub-region held in Yaoundé on 17-18 October as well as the 6th Pan-African Forum of Young World Heritage Professionals held in the Dja Faunal Reserve, a World Heritage Site, from 10 to 14 October. The expert forum discussed the challenges facing African World Heritage, including the processes of inscribing new sites, the removal of properties from the List of World Heritage in Danger, and the role of digital technology and young people in managing sites in the face of numerous challenges such as armed conflict, climate risks, and the integration of development projects. 

We must act together to preserve Africa's exceptional heritage from the dangers that threaten it. The Call to Action you have adopted will help us achieve this goal 

Heritage can and must facilitate a new form of development that can respond to the complex challenges facing Central Africa and the world today, 

The 6th Pan-African Forum of Young World Heritage Professionals, which brought together some 40 participants from 30 African countries, focused on improving the capacity for innovation and creativity, income generation, and the participatory involvement of young people and communities in regional heritage management. 

Our wish for world heritage conservation and development in Africa is that there be participatory heritage management with greater involvement of young people, consideration of cultural rights and meaningful participation of local communities. This can lead to African resilience, community innovation and transformation, peace building and sustainable development around World Heritage 

The international celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage will be held on 17 and 18 November 2022 in Delphi (Greece). It will take the form of a high-level conference, opened by the Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay.

Read more about the sub-regional celebration of the 50th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention in Yaounde here: