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African World Heritage Day

5 May

Proclaimed by the 38th session of the General Conference of UNESCO (November 2015), African World Heritage Day (5 May) is an opportunity for people around the world, and particularly Africans, to celebrate the Continent’s unique cultural and natural heritage.

While Africa is underrepresented on the World Heritage List (African properties account for some 12% of all inscribed sites worldwide), a disproportionally high percentage (39%) of these properties are on the World Heritage List in Danger. Faced with various contemporary threats, such as climate change, uncontrolled development, poaching, civil unrest and instability, many of Africa’s wonders risk losing their outstanding universal value.  It is therefore more urgent than ever that this irreplaceable heritage be protected and preserved for the enjoyment of future generations.

UNESCO is committed to spearhead international efforts to draw on the vast potential of Africa’s cultural and natural heritage as a force for poverty reduction and social cohesion as well as a driver of sustainable development and innovation. Through this international day, UNESCO aims to increase global awareness of African heritage, with a special focus on youth, and to mobilise enhanced cooperation for its safeguarding on the local, regional and global level.

#MyAfricanHeritage & #ShareOurHeritage

Youth, Entrepreneurship and Heritage Sustainability in Africa

Due to COVID-19, 90% of World Heritage sites around the globe are closed or partially closed, and many of them are in Africa.

As African World Heritage sites cope with the current situation, they are also looking ahead to the post-Covid time and planning for the short and long-term. The 2020 edition of African World Heritage Day will celebrate the theme “Youth, Entrepreneurship and Heritage Sustainability in Africa” with several special initiatives.


A Webinar/Zoom conference with the African World Heritage Fund

This online debate will bring together young people, policy makers, site managers, and members of the local community to reflect on the impact of COVID-19 on the lives and livelihoods of African communities and heritage sites. Over 200 participants from Africa and around the world will discuss strategies to build resilience and overcome the crisis while ensuring the sustainability of World Heritage in Africa.

04:30 a.m. in Los Angeles
07:30 a.m. in New York
11:30 a.m. in Dakar
01:30 p.m. in Paris
01:30 p.m. in Johannesburg
02:30 p.m. in Kampala
08:30 p.m. in Tokyo

Participate Watch the webinar

An Instagram Live session with student and climate activist Vanessa Nakaté

Vanessa started a climate movement in Uganda with her individual strike in January 2019, to oppose the passivity of governments in the face of climate change. In January 2020, she and other youth climate activists from around the world publicly requested participants at the World Economic Forum in Davos to call on companies, banks and governments to immediately stop subsidizing fossil fuels.

07:00 a.m. in Los Angeles
10:00 a.m. in New York 
02:00 p.m. in Dakar
04:00 p.m. in Paris
04:00 p.m. in Johannesburg
05:00 p.m. in Kampala
11:00 p.m. in Tokyo

Watch the session

An Instagram Live session with Pascall Taruvinga, Site Manager of Robben Island, South Africa

Used at various times as a prison, a hospital and a military base, Robben Island is a symbol of the triumph of democracy and freedom over oppression and racism. Join the conversation at this historic site with the Chief Heritage office of the Robben Island World Heritage site to share experience and reflection on how heritage as part of culture should be mobilized or promoted in a period of a disaster such as Covid-19 pandemic.

08:00 a.m. in Los Angeles
11:00 a.m. in New York 
03:00 p.m. in Dakar
05:00 p.m. in Paris
05:00 p.m. in Johannesburg
06:00 p.m. in Kampala
12:00 p.m. in Antananarivo

Watch the session


"At a time of crisis, anxiety and uncertainty, the world’s cultural and natural heritage is an invaluable resource that fuels our resilience, helps us find solutions, and brightens the future. This is the role that the African World Heritage, celebrated on this Day, can play for the African populations as well as for humanity as a whole. "

 —  Audrey Azoulay, Director-General, on the occasion of African World Heritage Day

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