Tanzania shines at World Heritage Committee forum in Istanbul

ARUSHA, Tanzania, (Xinhua) -- Tanzania got a standing ovation during the 40th World Heritage Committee meeting in Istanbul, Turkey due to the country's well-preserved World Heritage site and the fact that even the latest UNESCO's declaration was announced from here.

Tanzania took part at the global meeting for the first time as the member of the World Heritage Committee, representing Africa together with Angola, Zimbabwe, and Burkina Faso.

At the Turkey held WHC meeting, according to Major General, Gaudence Milanzi, Tanzania's Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism.

The ten-day occasion which kicked off on July 10, this year, went in line with the side event to commemorate 10 years of the African World Heritage Fund (AWHF).

Tanzania has seven world heritage sites, including Selous Game Reserve, Serengeti National Park, Kilimanjaro National Park and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

The country was also represented by Ambassador Taj Begum from the Embassy of Tanzania in France, Director of Antiquities, Donatius Kamamba and Conservator of Ngorongoro, Dr. Freddy Manongi.

In his statement, which was made available here on Thursday, the Tanzanian official reminded members of the World Heritage Committee meeting that the Ngorongoro Declaration on Safeguarding African World Heritage as a Driver of Sustainable Development was officially adopted at the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, last June.

Owing to its outstanding universal natural and cultural heritage value, Major General Milanzi informed the delegates that Ngorongoro was the first Tanzanian site to be inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1979 and as mixed property in 2010.

He informed the delegates that, internationally, the Ngorongoro is also recognized as a part of the Serengeti-Ngorongoro Biosphere Reserve under knitted Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's Man and the Biosphere Program since 1981 and it is an aspiring Geo-park.

Major General Milanzi informed the delegates that the Ngorongoro Declaration, different from other common Declarations, is characterized by its attempts to describe the concept of sustainable development in the contents and contexts of development challenges facing African states, drawing its mandates from the vast experiences of the continent in conservation and management of natural resources.

"The declaration addresses, in broader terms, the issues of capacity in the management of the heritage sites; it promotes social cohesion within and outside their borders using heritage values and promotes gender equity; it recognizes that social capital (partnership and networking) important for conservation and management of the sites; it reiterates the role of the local communities in the conservation and management and their dependence on World Heritage Committee," the Permanent Secretary told the delegates.

The Ngorongoro Declaration of 2016 also recognizes the massive direct and opportunity costs affecting the rural population for the protection of the sites, and a need to effectively and efficiently mitigate these costs.

"But in order to ensure that the Ngorongoro Declaration is implemented and tangible benefits are gained from the sites as well as ensuring balanced approach in heritage conservation and sustainable development, we need action plans that are consistent with the Declaration; undertaking of strategic environmental appraisal of the plans; and monitoring and evaluation of the development plans."

Major Generally Milanzi emphasized that Tanzania understands that every development action has an impact and that there is no impact free development. He reiterated that every decision about the heritage sites, including 'no go decision' or 'no action decision' promoted by developed nations, had impacts on our natural and cultural heritages.

He was on view that science and technology have advanced so much over the decade, and therefore, with appropriate science and technology, African states can optimize conservation and use of the world heritage sites with minimum possible adverse effects and without compromising the values of these sites, and in essence, this is sustainable development.

The World Heritage Committee comprises representatives from 21 States Parties to the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage elected by the General Assembly of States Parties to the Convention.