Experts aim to preserve heritage of African sites of conflict

The sites of the Battle of Isandlwana in South Africa, Cuito Cuanavale in Angola and the genocide in Rwanda are all struggling to make it onto the World Heritage List.

African World Heritage Fund logo.
It is agreed that the time is right for Africa to discuss the treatment of sites of recent conflict, according to the African World Heritage Fund. Picture: African World Heritage Fund/Facebook

CAPE TOWN, April 7 (ANA) – An experts’ virtual meeting on Sites of Memory and World Heritage Convention in Africa and an inter-ministerial meeting kicked off on Tuesday.

According to a statement by the African World Heritage Fund (AWHF), the four-day meeting seeks to build on the conclusions of the previous expert meetings organised by the Unesco World Heritage Centre (WHC) that were held in Paris in December 2018 and April last year.

The objective of the meeting is to further reflect on putting into operation the concept of sites associated with memories of recent conflicts within the framework of the World Heritage Convention in Africa.

Speakers from the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) and World Heritage Centre all agreed that the time was right for Africa to discuss the treatment of sites of recent conflict, according to the statement.

Such sites include the of Battle of Isandlwana in South Africa, the war site of Cuito Cuanavale in Angola and the sites of genocide in Rwanda, which are all struggling to make it onto the World Heritage List.

The need to address the question of the relevance of including sites linked to recent conflicts on the World Heritage List and to undertake a targeted reflection on this typology of site had been pending since 1996, when the inscription of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome) on the World Heritage List raised concerns, said the statement.

The contextualised reflection by the experts would be the building blocks on how the continent brings together its definition of the path to follow in defining its heritage sites related to recent conflicts in World Heritage and other recognition systems.

Furthermore, the chairperson appealed to the African countries to continuously support the AWHF in its efforts to improve the conservation, management, protection and global marketing of heritage sites aiming at building sustainability for the benefit of Africa’s populations.

The AWHF is an intergovernmental organisation that was launched in 2006 with the mission to support the effective conservation and protection of natural and cultural heritage of outstanding universal value in Africa.

– African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Yaron Blecher

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