UNESCO celebrates 10 years of achievements of the African World Heritage Fund

On the occasion of the 38th session of the General Conference of UNESCO, Ms. Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, and His Excellency Mr. Jean-Marie Adoua, President of the African Group, hosted a side event to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the creation of the African World Heritage Fund (AWHF) and the proclamation of May 5th as the African World Heritage Day.

This event celebrated the AWHF’s achievements over the past years in supporting the implementation of the World Heritage Convention in Africa and to safeguarding the diversity of the continent’s rich heritage, as a source of identity and sustainable development. Thanks to this partnership, the AWHF has organized, in close collaboration with UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre, over 50 training workshops towards the implementation of the 2012-2017 Action Plan for World Heritage in the Africa Region which focuses on nomination training, preparing tentative lists, risk preparedness, entrepreneurship training, and traditional management systems. Other workshops have supported the Africa Nature Programme, the COMPACT Initiative (Engaging Local Communities in the Stewardship of World Heritage), Climate Change and Sustainable Tourism.

Throughout these joint efforts, the AWHF and UNESCO have trained 521 participants from 49 States Parties to the World Heritage Convention, including 153 female participants.

The proclamation of an African World Heritage Day reaffirms the commitments of both the African people and the international community to the safeguarding of the African World Heritage Properties. By ratifying the World Heritage Convention, each country pledges to conserve not only the World Heritage properties, but also to protect it against multiple threats such as natural disasters, armed conflicts, and illicit trafficking.

AWHF and UNESCO are currently collaborating on the organization of the first regional Youth Forum for World Heritage in the Africa region in 2016 as well as an international conference on Conservation of African World Heritage properties and Sustainable Development, which will be part of the 10th anniversary celebrations.

For more information, please see www.awhf.net.