Flanders supports cultural heritage in Africa through UNESCO
On 24 February the Government of Flanders decided to grant a new contribution of 900.000 euros to one of its two trust funds at Unesco. For over 15 years Flanders has been supporting both scientific projects and the protection of cultural heritage, with a specific focus on Africa, through these trust funds. It was the cultural heritage fund that was replenished now. Since 2000, Flanders has supported UNESCO for around 35 million euros.
Minister-president Geert Bourgeois: “By giving support to the preservation and enhancement of cultural heritage in Africa, we contribute to the sustainable development of the continent. Apart from the restoration of architectural heritage – think of the beautiful mosques of Timbuktu (Mali) that suffered from fundamentalist violence – it is also about natural heritage, underwater heritage, and more and more about intangible assets. With the latter term we mean traditions, rituals, art forms and much more. The preservation of all that heritage is not only important for the dignity of the peoples of Africa, but it also provides opportunities for valorization as a touristic asset.”
Flanders’ collaboration with UNESCO focuses on a real partnership between both parties. UNESCO can count on funding from the Government of Flanders and the experience of Flanders’ universities, while conversely Flanders can rely on the network, know-how and worldwide contacts of UNESCO. During the recent years Flanders supported among others UNESCO’s activities for the protection of world heritage in Syria and Iraq, the Africa Nature project and the conservation of marine world heritage sites.