25 September 2012
As part of Heritage Month celebrations, South Africa, through the Department of Arts and Culture, will host an international conference under the theme “Living with World Heritage in Africa” on 26-29 September 2012, at Kopanong Conference Centre, Benoni. The conference will bring together high-level decision makers from African governments, heritage institutions, local communities (people who live around World Heritage Sites) and developments sectors. Through this conference, delegates will join their efforts to develop solutions to ensure the future of both World Heritage and sustainable development in Africa.
Topics such as how to unlock natural resources that will boost economic growth and create jobs in the African continent while at the same time maintaining World Heritage Sites will be discussed. This means while Africa and specifically local communities embrace the maintenance and preservation of World Heritage Sites, they should not lose opportunities to beneficiate for instance, mineral resources available in their areas and infrastructure development required to improve the quality of life. There is a need for co-existence and understanding between the needs of local economies, governments, private sector entities and UNESCO World Heritage Sites management and conservation standards.
It is for this reason that an African position on World Heritage and Sustainable Development will be agreed upon and presented later at the Closing Ceremony of the 40th Anniversary of the World Heritage Convention in Japan. A continental approach on this matter is necessary due to Africa’s unique (as compared to the rest of the world) realty regarding the balance between world heritage and developmental needs.
The Second Cycle of Periodic Reporting adopted by World Heritage Committee in 2011, emphasised the link between World Heritage and development as one of the most crucial issues to be addressed. South Africa is home to eight World Heritage Sites, namely Robben Island, Mapungubwe Cultural Landscapes, Ikhahlamba Drakensberg Park, Vredefort Dome, Cradle of Humankind, Isimangaliso Wetlands Park, Richtersveld Cultural & Botanical Landscapes and the Cape Floral Kingdom. There has been significant improvement in the management and preservation of (AWHF). The AWHF was initiated by the African Members States of UNESCO. The aim of the Fund is to develop strategies to deal with challenges that many African World Heritage Sites face, including training, nomination process and financial and human resources required in maintaining sites. Ten new African sites were inscribed (accepted as World Heritage Sites) to the list in the last 2 years. Full programme will be available on www.dac.gov.za and www.awhf.net websites in due course.
find the attached programme here
Details of the opening event are as follows:
Date : 26 September 2012
Time : 09: 00-13:00 (Full programme attached)
Venue : Kopanong Conference Centre, Benoni, Gauteng
Media RSVP : Josias Pila: 012 441 3737 / 078 733 9709
Media enquiries : Mack Lewele: 012 441 3083/082 450 5076
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