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Government of Flanders
(Kingdom of Belgium)

As part of the General Trust Fund (FUT) with UNESCO, the Government of Flanders (Kingdom of Belgium) supports activities of the World Heritage Centre in view of enhancing the management and representativity of natural World Heritage sites, in particular marine and African sites.

The Government of Flanders has a long-standing tradition in mapping and marine sciences, with a history that dates back to the 16th century, including the geographer Gerardus Mercator whose map projection was so far advanced it is still used today for maritime navigation. In this connection, the Trust Fund has supported the World Heritage Centre Marine Programme in several areas, including:

  • A global environmental DNA project to study the biodiversity of UNESCO Marine World Heritage
  • Development of a baseline assessment of management effectiveness in marine World Heritage sites; 
  • Development of practical guidance to ensure a more ecosystem-based approach to the management of marine World Heritage sites; 
  • Development of a regional overview of potential areas with Outstanding Universal Value in the Indian Ocean, with a focus on areas under jurisdiction of African countries; 
  • Strengthening the foundation for the development of a strong, solid and sustainable World Heritage Marine Programme from 2010 to 2020;
  • Facilitate a breakthrough towards the removal of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (Belize) from the World Heritage List in Danger in 2017;
  • Strengthen the sharing of best practices and replication of success stories from the South African World Heritage site iSimangaliso Wetland Park to other marine World Heritage sites. 

The Trust Fund is also supporting:

  • The engagement of indigenous and local communities in conservation and governance of the Okavango Delta World Heritage Site in Botswana,
  • Technical assistance to national teams of experts responsible for the preparation of a new nomination dossier (Bale Mountains National Park in Ethiopia), one nomination dossier for a significant boundary modification (Simien National Park in Ethiopia), and the feasibility of two transboundary extensions of World Heritage properties (Okavango Delta in Botswana to Angola and Namibia, and Mana Pools National Park, Sapi and Chewore Safari Areas in Zimbabwe to Zambia),
  • The engagement of the private sector in the conservation of natural World Heritage sites through a more strategic approach at eliminating extractives activities and other activities which can impact negatively on the Outstanding Universal Value,
  • Strengthening capacity and resilience of natural World Heritage sites in a changing climate.
  • The development of the World Heritage Online Maps Platform, a geographic information system to store, filter, visualize and analyze geospatial data for enhanced World Heritage monitoring.

Between 2002 and 2010, the Trust Fund also supported:

  • The development of World Heritage management capacity in the Arab States, including data collection, production of maps and monitoring systems, in order to improve the management and conservation of World Heritage sites in the region,
  • Capacity-building in tourism to preserve World Natural Heritage and Cultural Landscapes in South-Eastern Europe,
  • The rehabilitation of the Historic Palm Garden at Paramaribo (Suriname),
  • The Development and Implementation of the World Heritage Cities Programme, in particular in Africa through the test-run a series of three workshops on the Swahili Coast,
  • The set up of the Reactive monitoring and trends information system for an improved state of conservation of the World Heritage properties,
  • The State of conservation of the Island of Mozambique.

Flanders and UNESCO

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