Djibouti reviews its potential World Heritage sites
© Djibouti Ministry of Muslim Affairs, Culture and Waqf Properties
As part of a UNESCO World Heritage International Assistance project in Djibouti, the Ministry of Muslim Affairs, Culture and Waqf Properties of Djibouti organized a one-day consultation workshop with key national stakeholders to review the current Tentative List of potential World Heritage sites in Djibouti in order to identify a site for nomination to the UNESCO World Heritage List. The workshop took place on 1 December 2020 at the People's Palace in Djibouti, and included active participation by representatives of the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Ministry for Culture alongside national experts from universities and national institutions in charge of natural and cultural heritage as well as civil society and local officials.
Despite having ratified the World Heritage Convention in 2007, Djibouti has not yet nominated a site for inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Djibouti benefited from a first international assistance in 2012 for the establishment of its Tentative List, which was finalized in 2015 and includes the following ten sites:
- Aire naturelle protégée de Djalélo
- Aire naturelle terrestre protégée d’Assamo
- Lac Abbeh : son paysage culturel, ses monuments naturels et son écosystème
- Le Lac Assal
- Le Parc National de la forêt du Day
- Le paysage urbain historique de la ville de Djibouti et ses bâtiments spécifiques
- Les Gravures Rupestre d’Abourma
- Les îles Moucha et Maskali
- Les paysages naturels de la région d’Obock
- Les Tumulus (Awellos)
The objective of this workshop was to analyze, on a national level, the potential World Heritage values of these sites, taking into account the selection criteria established by the 1972 World Heritage Convention. Their assessment will then be shared with the Advisory Bodies of the World Heritage Convention, who will review the list and the national analysis before undertaking a field mission to Djibouti in 2021 to further advise the State Party of Djibouti on the selection of a site to nominate, once the COVID-19 related travel restrictions are lifted.
According to the Director of Culture, Mr. Hassan Doualeh, the workshop consisted of two phases: the first phase focused on a presentation of the sites on Djibouti’s Tentative List and the second phase identified the top three sites with the most potential for the preparation of a future nomination file. In reviewing the natural and cultural heritage sites of Djibouti, the participants also discussed the conservation and management challenges facing the sites, which have resulted in the disappearance of animal and plant species from some of the properties.
The workshop helped prepare the State Party of Djibouti to take an important step in the implementation of the 1972 Convention by narrowing down the selection of a first site to propose for inscription on the World Heritage List. The ongoing project also foresees awareness raising among the general public so they can learn more about the responsibilities as well as the opportunities of a potential World Heritage site.