Director-General N Tshabalala: statement during 24th Session of the General Assembly of State Parties to the 1972 World Heritage Convention
Paris, France, 22 November 2023
Chairperson since it’s the first time South Africa is taking the floor; let me join other delegates and congratulate you on your appointment. We have no doubt that you will fulfil your roles and responsibilities adequately. Rest assured that we are fully in support of your appointment.
Chair we would like to appreciate the work done by the secretariat in putting together the report summarising; the work of the World heritage Committee since 2021 as well as the outcomes of the extended 45th session of the World Heritage Committee.
Without going into the details of the report, we would like to register our sincere gratitude to the government Saudi Arabia for the exceptional work done in hosting the extended 45th Session of the World Heritage Committee after being put on hold in 2022.
Though we take note of the summarised report, South Africa has observed that there are other important key outcomes that are omitted in the report. This includes amongst other:
The decision to strengthen dialogue between state parties and the advisory bodies when finalising evaluation reports pertaining to World Heritage Sites. This process will alleviate the concern raised by the advisory bodies that their recommendations are being overruled by the committee. Furthermore, South Africa commends ICOMOS for implementing this decision by inviting the state party of South Africa to a panel meeting scheduled for 24 November 2023 to clarify issues pertaining to its two proposed nominations.
- The recommendation that the UNESCO category 2 centres present their own reports in future World Heritage Committee sessions. This is in recognition that the work done by these institutions in the implementation of the 1972 World Heritage Convention is phenomenal and should be recognised.
The adoption of the priority Africa strategy during the extended 45th session should be recognised as one the major decisions, as it calls for strengthening capacity of African experts in order to be exposed in the World Heritage nomination process and develop credible nomination files for possible inscription in the World Heritage List. Whilst we welcome that at the 45th African sites listed surpassed 100, Africa despite its richness in cultural and natural heritage remains underrepresented
For Africa the removal of Tombs of the Kings of Buganda at Kasubi in Uganda from the World Heritage List in Danger after 11 years is a major milestone that should be recognised in the context that the number of African sites are overrepresented in the World Heritage List in Danger. We look forward to removal of more sites in the upcoming sessions.
Lastly chair, considering that 2023 marks the end of our tenure, South Africa recommit itself to protecting and managing cultural and natural heritage of outstanding universal value in a balanced, representative, and credible way; so that future generations can inherit a rich and diverse world heritage estate.
Thank you chair