By Confidente Reporter
FORMER President Hifikepunye Pohamba is set to host the African World Heritage Fund (AWHF) Business Leaders Breakfast event on 14 September in Windhoek.
The AWHF event is organised jointly with the Namibian government, through the Office of the Former President and the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture.
It is aimed at facilitating the participation of the private sector and renowned business entities in the issues of world natural and cultural heritage protection and promotion. The event will promote a holistic private sector engagement, and raise a sense of ownership, stewardship and accountability for heritage protection, in terms of world heritage sites in Namibia and the rest of Africa.
This fundraising event will create an opportunity for private sector companies, entities, consortiums and individuals from Namibia and other countries to make pledges, in order to advance the objectives of the AWHF, of which Pohamba is a patron,
The AWHF is an initiative of the African member states of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the African Union (AU), and was launched to support the effective conservation and protection of natural and cultural heritage sites of outstanding universal value in Africa.
AWHF Executive Director, Dr Webber Ndoro, said the project has been in the development stages for a, while conducting research 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,” Ndoro said.
The Namibian government has supported the operations of the fund for many years, through an agreement that was signed in 2014.
“Our government has hosted a number of AWHF activities, including capacity building training courses in heritage management, and the nomination of sites to the prestigious UNESCO world heritage list. This has directly benefited heritage professionals in Namibia. It is important that other African countries and partners must come out to also support the fund’s activities in various ways,” said Minister of Education, Arts and Culture, Katrina Hanse-Himarwa.
Pohamba is currently one of four AWHF patrons, together with Cape Verde’s former President Pedro de Verona Rodrigues, Canadian heritage expert Dr Christina Cameron and a prominent South African businessman Phuthuma Nhleko.
The former Namibian Head of State is a globally eminent personality, who provides international prestige and leverage to the work of the fund.
“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,” Pohamba said.
“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.”
Namibia boasts two sites that are inscribed on the World Heritage Prestige List, which are Namib Sand Sea and Twyfelfontein.
The AWHF has supported the inscription and management of these sites. As a result, Namibia, through UNESCO, was able to enlist 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 of over three million hectares.
It is the oldest desert, with the highest dunes in the world, which make up 84 percent of the site.
Twyfelfontein was inscribed as a world heritage site by UNESCO in 2007. This site includes numerous galleries of rock engravings in sandstone, as well as paintings and stone tools, dating from the late Stone Age. The site is a dramatic pictographic library of the economic and ritual lives of the San people, who originally inhabited the region.
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