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 Post subject: Heritage Files no 6: World Heritage Convention
Unread postPosted: Fri May 31, 2013 1:20 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 12:46 am
Posts: 39
Last year (2012) the World Heritage Convention celebrated its 40th birthday (by chance so did I!). I attended the Anniversary Conference hosted by UNESCO, the African World Heritage Fund and the South African Government, as an official delegate representing South Africa. The theme of the Conference was "Living with World Heritage in Africa". Parrt of the event was a Colloquium for 16 African Ministers attending, focussing on a regional approach to Sustainable Developement in/near World Heritage Sites (WHS). Aother sessions included:

- WHS and Sustainable Developement and Tourism
- WHS and Extractive Industries (the dreaded word "mining"cleverly not used!)
- WHS and Local Communities

A few interesting facts:

1. Of the 54 African countries only Somalia and the newly independant South Suban have not ratified the Convention. South Sudan was at the Conference and I now have an invitation to come and visit one of there (yet to be opened National Parks) to witness the annual Kob migration (which is in fact the largest mammal migration, not the Serengeti's wildebeest)
2. There are 962 WHS in the world, 86 of which is in sub-Saharan Africa. Of these 18 sites are on the List in Danger!

It was an amazing Conference. As with all these events our Government spared no costs! But what I appreciatecmost was not the "shall we mine in side or outside", poor Africa with our wars and poverty"or the "Men in Black"protecting presidents and Ministers, but the collective agreement and understanding by the heritage professionals, the passion of these working in extreamely difficult circumstances, etc. The presentations from all over African was facination and my bucket list is now much longer in the travel department!

Our World Heritage Sites are facing difficult times and we must ensure that the Mapungubwes, Cape Floral Kingdoms, Richtervelds, etc. are protected and managed is such a manner that the List in Danger has none of them on!


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