Special support programme for UNESCO sites in Africa
Initiated by the Federal Foreign Office and the Goethe-Institut, an International Relief Fund was set up in summer 2020 to provide rapid support to cultural and educational organisations during the Covid-19 pandemic. With its special support programme #SOSAfricanHeritage, the German Commission for UNESCO is an active member of the funds consortium. The following article introcudes the 22 projects funded by the German Commission for UNESCO.
african countries are project locations
Many UNESCO designated sites in African countries suffer from severe impairments caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Numerous sites had to close for visitors and in turn are facing major losses of income. Due to massive financial losses, some sites no longer had the means to pay their staff in charge of protecting and managing the biosphere reserves. Consequently, in the absence of patrols, poaching and looting have therefore increased significantly since the beginning of the pandemic.
In order to help UNESCO designated sites to overcome existing impairments due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the German Commission for UNESCO set up a special support programme: #SOSAfricanHeritage. The aim of #SOSAfricanHeritage is to contribute to preserving independent and sustainable organisational structures at African World Heritage sites and Biosphere Reserves as well as to secure spaces dedicated to education for cosmopolitanism, sustainability, and cultural diversity.
Projects to be funded
On September 1, 2020, an international jury of experts selected 22 projects from 19 African countries for funding. Until December 2020 each project will receive up to 25,000 euros from the German Commission for UNESCO.
The selected activities include innovative digitisation and educational measures, methods to preserve the sites endangered infrastructures, as well as approaches to create alternative touristic access to UNESCO World Heritage sites or UNESCO Biosphere Reserves. Projects furthermore promote new and sustainable income streams, thus helping to cushion the economic downturn caused by the pandemic. Many of the selected projects are dedicated to protecting World Heritage sites and Biosphere Reserves from poaching and looting.
Find out more about the individual projects in the project-profiles:
The International Relief Fund
Initiated by the Federal Foreign Office and the Goethe-Institut, an International Relief Fund was set up in summer 2020 to provide rapid support to cultural and educational organisations during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Foreign Office provides the basic funding of three million euros. Additional funding is made available by the Goethe-Institute, the S. Fischer Foundation, and the Robert Bosch Foundation. The overall coordination is directed by the Goethe-Institute.
Numerous other cultural organizations and private foundations, including the DAAD's Berlin artist program, the Mercator Foundation, and the Siemens Foundation, provide additional support funds or participate with their own programs. With its special support programme #SOSAfricanHeritage, the German Commission for UNESCO is part of the Relief Fund consortium.