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Capacity building “Cultural heritage and local development”, 18-21 November 2008, Porto Novo, Benin

Held on 18-21 November 2008 in Porto Novo, Benin, the first training session of the programme “Cultural heritage and local development” gathered local representatives from Benin, Togo and Burkina Faso. Held at the School of African Heritage (EPA) with support of the France-UNESCO Cooperation Agreement, this first training session aimed to raise awareness on cultural heritage and local development in Africa for local representatives and municipal staff was planned jointly with the workshop of the Directors of cultural heritage of the “Africa 2009 Programme”.

The first day of the training session focused on the technical aspects of cultural heritage and aimed to build capacity specifically among local authorities and experts. Participants of the first training session were able to analyse a case study based on the fieldtrip organised as part of the workshop to see the heritage work carried out by the City of Porto Novo, some of which is implemented in the framework of the decentralised cooperation with the City of Lyon, France.

Days two and three of the first training session (19-20 November 2008) gave focus to the dialogue between central and local decision makers. The Directors of cultural heritage for the “Africa 2009 Programme” exchanged with the attending local representatives and addressed the question of decentralisation in their respective countries.

Workshop discussions led to the identification of the following main themes:

  • 1. Institutional relations and regulations
  • 2. Financial, economic and social potential
  • 3. Urban regulations, development plan and construction permits
  • 4. Capacity building

The closure of the elected representative training session was co-organised with the closure of the “Africa 2009 Programme” on 21 November 2008 in the presence of the Minister of Culture of Benin.

The recommendations from the training sessions, as well as the conclusions of its four working groups are available in a summary of discussions.