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Towards the removal of sites in East Africa from the List of World Heritage in Danger

lundi 22 avril 2024 à 18:25
access_time Lecture 0 min.

Experts from East Africa gathered in Nairobi for a workshop to discuss current challenges posed at the World Heritage sites in danger in Kenya, Madagascar, and Tanzania.

Africa, despite its rich and diverse cultural and natural heritage, remains the second least represented region on the World Heritage List. The continent hosts the highest number of endangered properties, with 14 out of the 56 sites on the World Heritage Danger List located in Africa, including three in Eastern Africa: Lake Turkana National Park (Kenya), Rainforest of Atsinanana (Madagascar), and Selous Game Reserve (United Republic of Tanzania).

Aligned with the Strategy for developing Desired State of Conservation for the Removal of a Property from the World Heritage Danger List (DSOCR) in the Africa region (2021-2025), UNESCO World Heritage organized a workshop from 16 to 19 April 2024, with the support of the Government of Norway.

It is in this context that UNESCO has prepared, in close collaboration with the 3 advisory bodies; ICOMOS, ICCROM and IUCN, and the African World Heritage Fund (AWHF), a specific strategy aimed at developing the desired state of conservation for the removal of these sties from the list of World Heritage in Danger . 

Experts and government representatives from Cote D’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Tanzania, and Uganda participated in the event. 

The workshop aimed to strengthen the capacities of site managers and government authorities in elaborating the Desired State of Conservation for the Removal of properties from the World Heritage Danger List by providing training on methodology, assistance in elaboration, finalization, integration, and formulating recommendations for better practices. The event also facilitated the definition of concrete actions and corrective measures necessary to preserve the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the sites and remove them from the World Heritage Danger List. 

Importantly, this initiative contributed to implementing the Strategy for World Heritage in Africa, particularly its Flagship Programme 3: "Fostering Cultural Heritage and Capacity Building Development," as part of its Priority Africa (2022-2029) and in connection with the Regional Action Plan for Africa (2021-2027) resulting from the Third cycle of Periodic Reporting.

"Africa must work together to address the common issues affecting our heritage, embrace modern technologies to better address the management of the heritage resources and to project heritage to the global audience. As envisaged in the Agenda 2063, we need to mobilize our resources to achieve inclusive growth, sustainable development, and to preserve our strong cultural identities."

The workshop's first day featured opening remarks from Lazare Eloundou Assomo, Director of UNESCO’s World Heritage, Ambassador Peter Ngure, Permanent Delegation of Kenya to UNESCO, and Prof. Dr. Mary Gikungu, Director-General of the National Museums of Kenya. Subsequent discussions focused on the process of removing Comoe National Park (Cote D’Ivoire) and Kasubi Tombs (Uganda) from the World Heritage Danger List, along with updates on DSCOR progress for the Rainforests of Atsinanana, Lake Turkana National Parks, and Selous Game Reserve.

The second and third day involved presentations from WHC and ICCROM on DSCOR planning and management frameworks and steps, followed by practical and technical group work on developing and implementing the DSCOR framework for respective World Heritage sites. Finally, the workshop provided an opportunity to formulate recommendations for developing corrective measures and the desired state of conservation to mobilize technical and financial partners to support DSOCR achievement.

Overall, the workshop was an opportunity to involve site managers and national authorities in focusing on remedial action and corrective measures to address threats to the OUV of properties listed as at risk. As a follow-up, on-site support missions will address gaps identified in the DSOCR elaboration process according to the approved roadmap.

List of World Heritage in Danger