Reflection on Day 2 of the African Experts’ Virtual Meeting on Sites of Memory and World Heritage Convention in Africa And Inter-Ministerial Meeting

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08 Apr 2021

Experts’ discussion and development of the declaration on Sites of Memory

The second day of the African Experts’ Virtual Meeting on Sites of Memory and the World Heritage Convention in Africa and Inter-Ministerial Meeting, was characterized by group discussions focusing on the following:
1. Group 1 - Conceptual framework and draft declaration on memory sites and World Heritage Convention in Africa
2. Group 2 - Potential nominations for World Heritage listing
3. Group 3 - Other mechanism for promotion of memory sites in Africa

Highlighting that the World Heritage Convention of 1972 and its Operational Guidelines do not provide sufficient apparatus for evaluation of sites of memory and those associated with recent conflict for these sites to ascend to the World Heritage List, a call was made for an African brand of Heritage to be considered, which would recognise the uniqueness of African sites of memory, as the continent is endowed with both tangible and intangible memory.

Noting the divergent views and positions within the World Heritage community regarding sites associated with recent conflicts, the debate revealed an urgent need to develop a comprehensive framework around this topic at global level taking into consideration regional contexts.
The Experts noted that there was room for sites of recent conflict to be nominated to the World Heritage List. A strong proposal was put forward for the Operational Guidelines and the Convention to be subjected to review to accommodate new thinking around Heritage identifying new criteria to complement the existing ones.

It was advocated that every effort must be made to ensure that sites of cultural value are also listed. A recommendation was proposed, to conduct a scientific study that will capture the African perspective and support the continent’s argument and provide guidance on the principle of dealing with these kinds of sites.

The third day (Day 3), Thursday, 8th April will present the outcomes of the two – day African Experts’ Meeting to Director-Generals (DGs) and Permanent Secretaries (PSs) of the continent.

For media enquiries, kindly contact:
Ms. Zimasa Velaphi I Head of Communications and Marketing (DSAC) I E-mail: zimasav@dsac.gov.za Tel: (+27 72 172 8925)
Ms. Luyanda Sithole | Partnership officer I African World Heritage Fund (AWHF) | E-mail: luyandas3@dbsa.org Tel: (+27 66 384 1095)

Issued by the National Department of Sport, Arts and Culture