Our Youth.Heritage.Africa. and World Heritage Leadership programmes are working together with the Africa Unit of the World Heritage Centre (WHC) on a three-phase capacity building project in support of UNESCO’s Priority Africa initiative.
Improving Management Effectiveness in African World Heritage properties is strengthening the capacities of African heritage professionals and institutions to effectively manage World Heritage properties, advancing steps towards fulfilling the Operational Strategy for Priority Africa (2022-2029) and Strategic Objective 2 of the World Heritage Regional Action Plan for Africa (2021-2027).
The project is jointly coordinated by the ICCROM-IUCN World Heritage Leadership programme and the African Unit of the UNESCO WHC, and generously funded through the governments of Japan, Norway and Switzerland, as well as Youth.Heritage.Africa. It began in December 2021 and continues until May this year.
Here is a rundown of the three phases of the project.
Phase 1 – December 2021 to January 2022
This phase brought together 86 practitioners and officials working with World Heritage in 19 African States Parties to the World Heritage Convention for three six-day courses held in French, English and Portuguese. The focus was on providing participants with a solid overview of heritage management processes and procedures as well as an understanding of the requirements of managing World Heritage properties.
Participants exchanged views and experiences on multiple topics, including the role of national and local authorities, stakeholders, and community engagement in achieving sustainable development. They also revisited some concepts on management, governance, and the World Heritage Convention facilitated by the project team and 12 experienced practitioners from the region.
Priority Africa is not only about having more African sites inscribed on the [World Heritage] List, but having more African sites and African management practices be recognized for setting standards and examples. ICCROM is especially dedicated to this objective, and our two flagship Programmes, Youth.Heritage.Africa, and the World Heritage Leadership Programme have joined forces to collaborate with UNESCO on this initiative.
Dr Webber Ndoro, ICCROM Director-General
Phase 2 – January to April 2022
With the second phase underway, teams from six African countries are carrying out management effectiveness assessments for their sites, using the methodology presented in the upcoming Enhancing Our Heritage 2.0 toolkit. The application of the toolkit is focused on identifying what is working well and how management systems can be improved through follow-up actions. The World Heritage Leadership programme, the Africa Unit of the UNESCO WHC and regional facilitators are assisting each team with their assessments.
Phase 3 – May 2022
The final phase will build on the assessment carried out in the second phase, with three World Heritage properties to be supported in reviewing and developing management plans. The management teams will be provided with skills and knowledge to enhance their capacity to work on management planning processes.
The project was officially launched on 3 February 2022 with an online opening ceremony with contributions by Mr Lazare Eloundou Assomo, Director of UNESCO World Heritage; Dr Webber Ndoro, Director-General of ICCROM; H.E. Mr Tebogo Seokolo, Ambassador of South Africa; H.E. Mr Atsuyuki Oike, Ambassador of Japan; H.E. Mr Per Egil Selvaag, Ambassador of Norway; H.E. Ms Muriel Berset Kohen, Ambassador of Switzerland; Mr Tim Badman, Director of the Culture, Heritage and Youth Unit at IUCN; and Mr Muhammad Juma Muhammad, Head of the Africa Unit at the World Heritage Centre.