African World Heritage Day
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.
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.
MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR-GENERAL
"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