Stakeholder function of the African World Heritage Fund (AWHF) to be held on 12 Nov 09, 7 pm at Freedom Park, Pretoria

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04 Nov 2009

At the occasion of the 6th meeting of the African World Heritage Fund Board of Trustees, the South African Department of Arts and Culture and the Fund invite all stakeholders to a function at Freedom Park in Pretoria. “We chose Freedom Park for this important function because it gives not only South Africans, but all humanity, the possibility to understand our common heritage”, says Themba P Wakashe, the Director General of the South African Department of Arts and Culture and Chairman of the AWHF Board of Trustees.

The function will introduce the AWHF to a wide audience and important players in ensuring sustainable development of the African continent through better protection and management of the cultural and natural heritage.

The AWHF was launched in 2006 in South Africa and has since begun to implement a wide range of programmes and activities in the whole African continent, directed at increasing the number of cultural and natural World Heritage Sites and improving their state of conservation. The Fund’s vision is that World Heritage Sites are catalysts for economic development to the benefit of Africa’s people and communities.

The African World Heritage Fund depends on voluntary contributions from States Parties that are signatories to the 1972 World Heritage Convention. With the stakeholder function the AWHF wants to acknowledge UNESCO Member States who have supported the work since the beginning. Countries like Spain, Egypt, China, Norway and South Africa have been the principal supporters of the Fund. The Fund has further received assistance from the Netherlands, India, Namibia, Tanzania, Kenya, Morocco, South Korea, Mauritius, Portugal, Israel, Thailand, United Kingdom, the Nordic Foundation and the African Union.

In order to become sustainable the AWHF aims at raising a total of USD 10 million by the end of 2010 and a total of USD 25 million by 2015 for its Endowment Fund. The returns from the Endowment Fund are available for African States who have ratified the World Heritage Convention. A large number of States Parties from the whole continent have already applied for and received support for World Heritage-related programs.

The Fund closely cooperates with the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, the African Union and African and international heritage, culture, nature, development and cooperation organisations. Dr.Webber Ndoro, the AWHF Executive Director explains: “We define ourselves as a network organization which reunites all relevant players in the field and creates, manages and disseminates knowledge and best practices throughout the African continent. We aim to build knowledge and skills in World Heritage and site management – in the long term African experts must become more integrated and involved in protecting the world’s cultural and natural heritage..”

On October 17, 2009 the 33rd UNESCO General Conference awarded the African World Heritage Fund the status of a UNESCO category 2 centre. The Fund is now part of the wider UN family and the Fund will cooperate even more closely with UNESCO and the World Heritage Centre to increase the visibility, relevance and impact of UNESCO’s programmes on the African continent.


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