In practice: Green and Decent Jobs

  • In Mozambique, from 2005 to 2010, UNESCO undertook the first phase in the conservation and adaptive re-use of the Saint Sebastian Fortress, a World Heritage Site. The project is based upon the perception that the preservation of cultural heritage holds enormous potential for sustainable development and poverty alleviation. The World Heritage site of the Island of Mozambique is on its way to becoming an example of sustainable development, improving the living conditions of its inhabitants through activities for the preservation of its cultural heritage while simultaneously becoming a national and international tourist attraction. In only one year this project employed 100 workers, providing valuable experience for a number of graduates from the island’s vocational training school. Their work has not only helped protect this valuable site but has also provided clean water for the community by restoring a historical cistern and building a new one near the fortress.  
  • In Mali, women are known for their knowledge in the dyeing of textiles. However, the general usage of chemical dyes and the runoff of toxic effluents into groundwater or into the waters of the Niger river are suspected of causing health problems for inhabitants in the area (cancer, skin or respiratory diseases), and to polluting vulnerable ecosystems in the vicinity of the World Heritage site of Djenné. To address this issue, UNESCO is supporting the construction of an artisanal, eco-friendly dying factory in the framework of its ‘Niger Loire: Governance and Culture’ project funded by the European Commission. The aim of this project is to detoxify the dye waste so as to reduce the waste runoff into the natural environment, while at the same time improve the working conditions of women, who have until now been exposed to dangerous chemicals. The centre will also encourage women to experiment with using natural dye, and will be run by the women themselves, through a management committee.
  • Through the MDG Fund UNESCO is building capacity in Egypt to protect the area of the Dahshur pyramids and its ecosystem while fostering sustainable development, cultural and ecological management and revenue generation. The project is helping to generate green employment opportunities by supporting local community production of arts, promoting the development of creative industries, and small tourism businesses, so far having created 67 new jobs, but it is also promoting public awareness of the social value of world heritage sites and the importance of natural resources. 
  • The World Heritage site at Bamiyan Valley employed 500 local workers during 6 months each year from 2003-2010 in its projects to conserve and , this includes training and hiring permanent staff for the protection of the site, training and providing long 2 to 3-year jobs for Afghan researchers, mural paintings restorers, and experts in documentation, management and archaeology.
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