©UNESCO: Khartoum office; the Ministers of Information, of Tourism, Antiquities and Wildlife, of Education
The Sudanese National Commission for Education, Science and Culture in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Tourism & Wildlife and Ministry of Information organized a press conference on the occasion of inscribing Sanganeb Atoll and Dungonab Bay in the Red Sea as a natural world heritage, recognizing the universal value of these pearls of the Sudanese coast. The recognition happened during the 40th World Heritage Committee meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, on the 17 July 2016.
In her presentation, Dr. Salwa Mansour from the National Commission briefed the conference about the process that Sudan followed to reach this achievement. Prof. El-Haj Abu Gabra, the head of UNESCO Chair in Marine Biology and Oceanography, talked about the value and features of the site, stating that the area is inhabited by 225 different species of fish, of which the 17 % are found only in Sudan. Another value of the site, according to Prof. Abu Gabra, is the purity and depth of the water. The value of the area were confirmed by several comparative researches and studies involving into the consideration 14 other similar sites.
H.E. the Minister of Tourism, Antiquities and Wildlife, Dr. Mohammed Abu Zaid Mustafa, thanked the national team represented Sudan during the process, and appreciated the role of UNESCO in this regards. He stated the tourist importance of this achievement and the economic value for the country saying that his ministry together with other line institutions will take all the efforts to develop the tourist infrastructure around Sanganeb Atoll and Dungonab Bay, continuing to ensure the high protection and preservation of the area. He also underlined importance of tourism promoting agreements with other countries referring to the recent agreement with China facilitating tourist travels between countries.
H.E. the Minister of Education and Chair of the National Commission, Dr. Souad Abdulrazig, said that the recognition of the first Sudanese natural site as the World Heritage is a historical achievement of the country. She proposed to increase the role of National Commission in developing the tourism industry in Sudan. She also gave a tribute to all the stakeholders, who were involved in the hard work being done during the last several years, and appreciated the political and diplomatic support of different Arab and African countries. H.E. Dr. Souad Abdulrazig thanked the Khartoum office of UNESCO for the assistance, called for more support of UNESCO to Sudan, and invited Ms. Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO, to visit the newly recognized natural site.
In the end of the event, H.E. the Minister of Information, Dr. Ahmed Bilal Osman, thanked all the contributors for the good work done, and opened the chances for the questions. They were about the marketing opportunities for the country linked to the site recognition, the management of the site, the capacity building for the staff involved including the tourism industry and police guarding of the area. HE. the Minister of Tourism responded to all the questions and inquiries with full transparency and professionalism.