The participants in a conference on “Urban heritage in Africa: between safeguarding challenges and development issues” pleaded for the creation of an African network of heritage experts.
The speakers also emphasized the need to ensure, with the support of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, the preservation of African heritage by taking advantage of the sharing of experiences, strategies and know-how.
Organized by the Foundation for the Safeguarding of Cultural Heritage in Rabat, chaired by Lalla Hasnaa, this conference also advocated the continuation of UNESCO’s program relating to the training of heritage managers in Africa.
The experts also pleaded for the establishment of heritage management structures at the local level and the strengthening of the legal arsenal relating to the protection and enhancement of heritage and culture.
They also stressed the need to raise awareness of the cultural values of African heritage through the establishment of cultural industry and education strategies, focusing on facilitating access to this heritage, and the adoption of a participatory approach. and sustainable development in the development of preservation strategies.
Split into two panels “Exploration of the potential of ancient urban heritage in Africa” and “Challenges and potential of intervention in heritage sites”, this meeting brought together nine experts from different backgrounds and representing several disciplines, to discuss the safeguarding and the protection of urban heritage.
This conference, which is part of the celebrations of “Rabat, African Capital of Culture”, “10 years of Rabat on the World Heritage List” and “50 years of the 1972 Convention”, was rich in good practices and experiences of safeguarding urban heritage, which can be a source of inspiration for inclusive and holistic approaches to the development of historic African cities and lay the foundations for planning and management tools in sustainable and responsible perspectives.
Held in the presence of the Minister of Youth, Culture and Communication, Mohamed Mehdi Bensaid, the Wali of the Rabat-Salé-Kénitra region, Mohamed Yacoubi and the director of the UNESCO World Heritage Center, Lazare Eloundou Assomo, this meeting is part of the program (Les Ateliers de la Fondation) which carries the will of this institution to unite heritage actors, by creating national and international exchange platforms between practitioners, researchers, institutions and civil society.
Since Rabat was listed as a World Heritage Site in 2012, the Foundation for the Safeguarding of the Cultural Heritage of Rabat has been consecrated as a cross-cutting body for the coordination of actions to safeguard and enhance the heritage provided for by the management plan, a governance tool for the property inscribed by UNESCO.
The Foundation aims to perpetuate and transmit the historical, architectural, artistic, landscape, material and immaterial values inherent in the Cultural Heritage of Rabat.