The Director General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Audrey Azoulay, said that African World Heritage, is not recognized at the height of its historical, human and natural importance. .
On the occasion of the Day dedicated to him, she promised to place him at the heart of the strategy of the UN agency that she heads.
50 years ago, UNESCO Member States adopted the World Heritage Convention and in 1978 this instrument entered into force with, for the first time, 12 sites inscribed on the World Heritage List, and, among them, three African sites.
“Today, however, sub-Saharan Africa represents only about one tenth of the sites inscribed: the African heritage, whose exceptional value we celebrate today, is not yet recognized at the height of its historical importance. , human and natural “, however noted Audrey Azoulay, in a message for this day.
ideal of universality
To meet this challenge, UNESCO has placed this continent at the heart of its strategy for World Heritage, she underlined.
” It is, in a nutshell, about rethinking the way we implement the Convention, to meet the challenges it will face over the next 50 years – and to achieve, at last, the ideal of universality in the uniqueness that forms the basis of world heritage“, she explained, noting that “it is indeed through its profound singularity, its diversity and its richness that the African heritage rises to the universal and challenges us”.
The UNESCO DG cited, for example, the eight Sudanese-style mosques in Côte d’Ivoire that joined the World Heritage List last year – and “whose foothills of land stand up in front of the amazed spectator, embodying the prosperity of the Mali Empire, and the intensity of the exchanges, material and intellectual, which have flourished in the heart of the Sahara for centuries”.
She also cited Ivindo Park in Gabon, also inscribed last year, and “Where do the forest elephant, the long-snouted crocodile, and so many endangered species come to find refuge that remind us all, everywhere, of the climate emergency facing the world”.
Better protect sites
For these sites “continue to question and amaze us”Audrey Azoulay promised that UNESCO will intensify its efforts with African States, experts and local communities who are its guardians, “so that African sites, which represent nearly 40% of the sites inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger, are better protected and continue to serve as benchmarks for us over the next 50 years”.
“And to better recognize this African heritage and that it enriches our world heritage, we will ensure that by 2025, all African States that so wish have submitted at least one request for inscription on the World Heritage List. – with the scientific and logistical support of our Organization“, she concluded.