Pohamba to host World Heritage event

Former President Hifikepunye Pohamba will host a Business Leaders Breakfast event aimed at creating an opportunity for the private sector companies, entities, consortiums and individuals from Namibia and other countries to make pledges to advance the objectives of the African World Heritage Fund.

The Namibian Government has supported the operations of the Fund for many years through an agreement that was signed in 2014.

Namibia boasts two World Heritage Sites inscribed on the World Heritage prestige list namely, Namib Sand Sea and Twyfelfontein.

The African World Heritage Fund has supported the inscription and management of these sites.

As a result, Namibia through UNESCO could enlist the Namib Sand Sea on the World Heritage list in 2013 with the Fund offering technical support throughout the nomination process.

This World Heritage Site covers an area over three million hectares. It is the oldest desert with the highest dunes in the world that make up 84 percent of the World Heritage Site.

UNESCO inscribed Twyfelfontein World Heritage Site as a World Heritage Site in 2007.

This World Heritage Site includes numerous galleries of rock carvings in sandstone, paintings and stone tools dating from the Stone Age.

The site is a dramatic pictographic library of the economic and ritual lives of the San people that originally inhabited the region.

The Minister of Education, Arts and Culture, Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, said government has hosted many annual World Heritage Fund activities, including the capacity-building training courses in heritage management and nominations of sites to the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage list.

She said this has directly benefited heritage professionals in Namibia, adding that it is important that other African countries and partners come out to also support the Fund's activities in various ways.

Pohamba is one of four patrons of the African World Heritage Fund together with Pedro de Verona Rodrigues, former President of the Republic of Cape Verde and Heritage Expert, Dr Christina Cameron from Canada and Phuthuma Nhleko, a prominent businessman from South Africa.

The event is organised jointly with the Namibian Government through the Office of the Former President and the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture.

Luyanda Sithole, African World Heritage Fund Communications Officer, said this event is aimed at attracting the participation of the private sector and renowned business entities on issues of World Natural and Cultural Heritage protection and promotion.

She said this event would promote a holistic private sector engagement and raise a sense of ownership, stewardship and accountability for heritage protection and transmission of World Heritage sites in Namibia and Africa.

The African World Heritage Fund is an initiative of the African Member States of UNESCO and the African Union (AU), which was launched to support the effective conservation and protection of natural and cultural heritage of Outstanding Universal Value in Africa.

Executive Director of the Fund, Dr Webber Ndoro, in a statement said this project has been in the development stages for a while with researching and linking up with the necessary stakeholders.

It is a fact that the African World Heritage Fund holds a very special meaning for Africa since its establishment in that Africa is the only continent with a Fund dedicated to the implementation of the World Heritage Convention. I am proud that throughout our journey, the Fund has developed partnerships with many other organisations and private sector engagement is still a very critical aspect, he maintained.

The Fund described Pohamba as a global eminent personality, who provides international prestige and leverage to the work of the Fund.

The Fund quoted Pohamba saying, As identified in the Agenda 2063 of the Africa Union, issues of heritage underpin who we are as Africans and this defines our aspirations and unity as a continent. It is very crucial, as a country and continent, to strengthen our support for the work of the Fund in order to allow it to help address the enormous challenges faced by the heritage places on the continent and here at home. A collective investment in the Fund by state parties as well as private sector will go a long way towards building good practices for our heritage resources.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia