April 18, 2019 0

Rabat: 18/04/2019

International Conference on “Role and Responsibilities of Local Governments in Protection and Enhancement of Cultural Heritage” kicks off today at ISESCO headquarters, Rabat

The Second International Conference on the “Role and Responsibilities of Local Governments in the Protection and Enhancement of Cultural Heritage” kicked off today morning at the headquarters of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO). The conference is being held by ISESCO and the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa) on 18-19 April 2019.

At the conference’s opening session, addresses were delivered by Dr Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri, ISESCO Director General, read out on his behalf by Dr Amina Al Hajri, Deputy Director General; Mr Mohamed El Aaraj, Minister of Culture and Communication of the Kingdom of Morocco, delivered on his behalf by the General Secretary of the Ministry; Ms Golda El Khouri, Director of UNESCO Office in Rabat; the Representative of UN-Women Multi-Country Office for the Maghreb; Mr Mohamed Saddiki, Mayor of Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco; and Mr Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General of UCLG Africa.

It is worth noting that the conference concurs with the proclamation by ISESCO of 2019 a “Year of Heritage in the Islamic World” and the international community’s celebration of the International Day for Monuments and Sites on 18 April. The current session is an opportunity for the parties concerned and stakeholders operating in the field of cultural heritage to come up with a roadmap that will allow them to define their respective roles and responsibilities in preserving and valorizing this heritage.

The conference aims to recall the context and the stakes of the protection and valorization of cultural heritage in Africa and in the Arab-Muslim World; identify all the actors and stakeholders concerned with the issue of the preservation and enhancement of cultural heritage from the global level to the local level of proximity; and provide local African governments with tools and information necessary for better protection and enhancement of their cultural heritage, particularly through the Toolkit / Indicators of the Agenda 21 on Culture. The conference also aims to sensitize local elected officials and stakeholders  in the field of public governance of the importance of cultural heritage as a vector of peace and sustainable development in its various dimensions; sustain the advocacy efforts to urge states to support and assist local governments in the governance and management of Cultural Heritage and the transfer of resources necessary for this purpose; and reflect on a draft roadmap for better protection, enhancement and promotion of cultural heritage in Africa and the Arab-Muslim world.

The conference will discuss a number of issues pertaining to the following five themes: the context of and current challenges to safeguarding and promoting cultural heritage; identifying the key stakeholders in the field of safeguarding and promoting cultural heritage; and ways to lay down a roadmap at the local level.

The conference brought together the respective representatives of the international organizations concerned, namely ISESCO, UNESCO, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS). Also taking part in the conference were the representatives of the ministerial sectors in charge of governance and cultural heritage management (Foreign Affairs, Interior, Culture, Tourism, Crafts, Solidarity Economy, etc), representatives of the associations of local governments in Africa and the Arab-Islamic world, and African and Islamic cities that were selected as cultural capitals. The conference also saw the participation of  the thirty-one Moroccan cities with historic sites, the Mediterranean Network of Medinas and Heritage Development (RMM & DP), local elected representatives, the civil society bodies concerned with this field, in addition to development partners and donors, universities, institutes and training centers, students and researchers.

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