Peer exchange strengthens disaster risk management for World Heritage in East Africa – India Education | Latest Education News | Global education news

As part of an ongoing UNESCO Heritage Emergency Fund (HEF) project for “Emergency Fire Assistance for the Buganda Kings Tombs World Heritage property in Kasubi, Uganda” , an online peer-to-peer exchange was organized on December 15, 2021 by UNESCO. Regional Office for East Africa between the Managing Authorities of the Kasubi Tombs World Heritage Site in Uganda and the Sacred Forest World Heritage Site of Mijikenda Kaya in Kenya to exchange fire management experiences recent developments and share lessons learned from Uganda in advocacy and local communities as well as the development of a disaster risk management plan.

The Kasubi Tombs site faced two destructive fires in 2010 and 2020. The 2010 fire led to the site being inscribed on the UNESCO List of World Heritage in Danger. The Rabai Cultural Center, located at the Mijikenda Kaya Sacred Forest World Heritage Site, was the victim of an arson attack in September 2021, destroying an important gathering place for local communities to share and celebrate the practices of intangible cultural heritage and to develop sustainable tourism.

Mr. Denis Lukwago, Site Manager of the Tombs of the Kings of Buganda at Kasubi World Heritage Site in Uganda, participated in the online exchange with Mr. Anthony Githitho, Site Manager of the Sacred Forests World Heritage property by Mijikenda Kaya. They were joined by Mr. Remigious Kigongo, former site manager and special advisor to the Commissioner for Museums and Monuments at the Kasubi Tombs, and Mr. Lawrence Chiro, Conservation Officer at the National Museums of Kenya working in the sacred forests of Mijikenda Kaya.

Mr Lukwago shared his experience in organizing training courses for local communities living at the World Heritage property in Uganda. He highlighted the role of local police and fire departments in supporting regular “refresher courses” for local communities, and also touched on some of the challenges faced in ensuring close monitoring of risks at the site. While recently completing the drafting of a disaster risk management plan for the World Heritage site in Danger, Mr. Lukwago advised his fellow site managers in Kenya on approaches for preparing a disaster risk management plan. disaster risk management for the sacred site of Kaya. He placed particular emphasis on the importance of preventive measures and the close involvement of local communities in the preparation and successful management of disasters and risks. He also mentioned the importance of the site plan being part of the national disaster risk management plan for the country.

In addition to Mr. Lukwago’s first-hand experience of her leadership role in the Kasubi Tombs Heritage Emergency Fund project, Ms. Karalyn Monteil, Culture Program Specialist at the Regional Office of UNESCO for East Africa shared information with site managers on a UNESCO reference manual on disaster risk management for World Heritage. She also underlined that the World Heritage Center, in collaboration with the International Center for Studies for the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Properties (ICCROM), an advisory body of the World Heritage Committee, and the African World Heritage Fund ( AWHF), a category of UNESCO II Center based in South Africa, regularly organizes training workshops to increase the capacities of management authorities of World Heritage sites in disaster and risk management, to which management authorities sites from Kenya and Uganda can participate. Finally, she noted how another World Heritage site in Uganda – the Rwenzori Mountains National Park – has recently incorporated climate change into its disaster risk management plan, a topic Kenya may also wish to address. account in the development of its plan for the sacred forests of Mijikenda Kaya.

Kaya Sacred Forest Site Managers shared their experience of the recent fire at the Rabai Cultural Center within the Mijikenda Kaya Sacred Forest World Heritage Site, for which they are preparing to develop a forest management plan. disaster risk. Mr Githitho pointed out that the fire had occurred in one of the ten kayas (sacred forest) that make up the World Heritage site, so the disaster risk management plan must be comprehensive and cover the needs of all kayas. He also underlined the need to identify how intangible cultural heritage practices at the site have been affected by the fire and how to safeguard them in recovery efforts. Mr. Chiro stressed the importance of starting the process with meetings on conflict and peace between local communities before starting the process of the disaster risk management plan and any restoration plan for the cultural center.

This peer-to-peer exchange is part of the Kasubi Tombs Heritage Emergency Fund project, which supports the purchase and installation of firefighting equipment for the tombs of the kings of Buganda at the heritage property. Kasubi Global, as well as training in firefighting and disaster risk management. The managers of participating sites requested UNESCO to organize similar exchanges between managers of World Heritage sites in the Africa region in order to continue to share experiences related to the conservation and management of World Heritage properties.

Donors to the Heritage Emergency Fund include the Qatar Fund for Development, the Kingdom of Norway, the French Republic, the Government of Canada, the Principality of Monaco, ANA Holdings INC., The Republic of Estonia, the Kingdom of Netherlands, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Principality of Andorra, Slovak Republic and Republic of Serbia.

For more information on UNESCO Heritage Emergency Funds:

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