Unesco mobilises academics to promote heritage protection in Africa

The workshop is Unesco’s direct response to the urgent need to build African capacities in a sustainable way Credit: UNESCO / Nada Al Hassan

Unesco’s World Heritage Centre will this week be hosting a heritage workshop as part of its mandate to promote culture and education in Africa.

Taking place at the Great Zimbabwe University in Masvingo, Zimbabwe, between 26 and 28 April, World Heritage and Education Institutions in Africa has been organised in conjunction with the African World Heritage Fund (AWHF) and the Unesco Regional Office for Southern Africa in Harare.

The workshop, says Unesco, is a direct response to the “urgent need to build African capacities in a sustainable way and to spearhead international efforts to draw on the vast potential of safeguarding the continent’s cultural and natural heritage to foster sustainable development”.

As advocated in the Ngorongoro Declaration – a 2016 document which called upon the African Union and its heads of state to promote sustainable development while guaranteeing the conservation of African cultural and natural heritage – the workshop marks “an important milestone in the involvement of African educational institutions in the implementation of the World Heritage Convention.”

“Despite efforts to introduce heritage sciences in Africa’s academic institutions in recent years, the number of African heritage experts needed to safeguard the continent’s immensely diverse natural and cultural wonders remains insufficient,” said a Unesco statement.

“The three-day workshop will provide a platform for English-speaking academics from over 20 key African educational institutions, site managers and African World Heritage experts to exchange on matters related to capacity-building in heritage conservation and management in Africa.

“The participants will share experiences through paper presentations and thematic discussion sessions. The workshop will culminate in a series of recommendations on heritage curricula and enhanced involvement of educational institutions in World Heritage processes in Africa.”

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