18 new ‘candidates’ to join world heritage sites list soon

Serengeti National Park

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SOME 20 world heritage sites found in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda are earmarked to receive major international support – as another 18 candidates remain mapped in Rwanda, Burundi and South-Sudan may soon join the list.

This was stated here by the President of the International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) Scientific Committee on Archaeological Heritage Management, Dr Douglas Comer who led a delegation of other scientists in touring archaeological sites found in Tanzania’s Northern circuit.

“The future of tourism, culture and education is biased towards heritage sites and the sooner we extend support in conserving and protecting them, the better,” pointed out Dr Comer adding the support may include funds and technical provisions.

More than 100 delegates from the International Committee on and Archaeological Heritage Management (ICAHM) and International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), previously held a special meeting in Bagamoyo, Coast Region, before travelling to Ngorongoro, Arusha to visit some of the world-famous heritage sites.

Other than Bagamoyo, they toured Laetoli Archaeological discovery sites, Olduvai Gorge, Ngorongoro Crater and Dr Leakey’s working station.

They were hosted here by Prof Charles Musiba, a Tanzanian archaeologist based in the United States. “Tanzania’s archaeological sites are points of reference among researchers and scientists worldwide; they are the best investments the country ever had,” he said.

On his part, the Director of Research and Sponsored Programmes at the University of Guam in Mangilao, United States, Dr John Peterson, said many countries in Africa were making efforts to tap fossil fuels at the expense of heritage sites; “but with advanced technology fossil fuels are rapidly losing value but heritage sites and monuments multiply their worth tenfold with each passing year,” he added.

Of the six countries making up the East African Community, Tanzania has the highest number of World Heritage Sites as endorsed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

Dar has a total nine (9) world heritage sites including; Kilimanjaro National Park; ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani; Kondoa Irangi Rock Paintings; Ngorongoro Conservation Area; Selous Game Reserve; Serengeti National Park; remains of Songo Mnara; and Zanzibar’s Stone Town.

Kenya ranks second with six world heritage sites, to wit: Fort Jesus, Mombasa; Lamu Old Town; Sacred Mijikenda Kaya Forests; Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley; Lake Turkana National Parks and Mount Kenya Natural Forest Uganda has only three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, two of them are National Parks, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Rwenzori Mountains National Park, the other is a cultural site, Kasubi Tombs and is presently under reconstruction after a fire accident.

There are no World Heritage Sites in Rwanda, but Kigali has already filed applications for its proposed memorial sites, namely: Nyamata in Eastern Rwanda, Murambi in the South, Bisesero in the West and Gisozi in the Capital Kigali. The National Council for The Fight against Genocide (CNLG) is spearheading the application.

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