Deputy Minister Gbagonyon Praises UNESCO and Partners on Heritage Sites Selection for Liberia

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France, UNESCO – Deputy Minister for Culture Affairs and Tourism at the Ministry of Information, Culture Affairs and Tourism, Lance Gbagonyon has underscored and acknowledged the support and partnership of UNESCO, The African Heritage Fund, the Japanese Government and the UNESCO Africa Unit for Liberia’s desire for its recognition of Liberia’s heritage sites.

Mr. Gbayonyon extols the excellent partnership and support it has been receiving from its many partners and welcomes the implementation of the Liberia heritage project, especially the portion that deals with capacity-building thus ensuring that the project achieves its intended purpose adding that Liberia will be honored and grateful to boost Liberia’s cultural sector, for heritage sites in Liberia to be listed on the World Heritage Site.

Speaking on March 18, 2022 at a Capacity-building Program for the Nomination of World Heritage site Project held at UNESCO in Paris, France via Zoom, Deputy Minister Gbagonyon said working with stakeholders, Liberia has identified about twenty (20) tentative sites which have been shortlisted and forwarded for assessment and possible nomination.

Key amongst the sites are the East Nimba Reserve, the Sapo National Park, Lake Piso, Blue Lake, the Marshall Wetland, Kpatawee Waterfall, the Krahn-Bassa proposed protected area, Grand Kru-Rivergee proposed protected area, the Gola Forest among others.

He mentioned that before this project, the Ministry was working with UNESCO to identified four (4) heritage sites and recommended Two (2) to be placed on the world heritage site listing.

He mentioned that the Ministry is working with the House of Representatives through the House’s Committee Chairman on Executive, Hon. Acarious Gray to ratify six (6) major UNESCO Cultural Conventions that Liberia is a signatory.

The Minister used the occasion to update members of the project team, UNESCO, the Japanese Ambassador, and the Africa World Heritage Fund on the ongoing Capacity-building Program for the Nomination of World Heritage site Project. According to him, four Local Heritage practitioners in heritage conservation and management have been vetted and selected through a competitive process that involved both private and public stakeholders. “Building the capacity of local heritage conservationists, managers and practitioners that will enhance local capacity, sustainability, and ownership”, he added.

He concluded that stakeholders need involvement with  the project and the need- assessment have been done and forwarded, the membership of an Inter-agency working group comprising both public and private stakeholders has been constituted to help in the implementation of the project, and a national work plan has been developed and needs assessment and national workshop for awareness is scheduled for June of this year 2022.

Members of the Liberian delegation to the meeting included, Head of Mission, Madam Tracy Grigsby, Deputy Minister Lance Gbagonyon, Deputy Head of UNESCO Madam Marilyn Zoe Gaye, Minister Counselor Isaac C. Yeah. MICAT Director of Culture and Focal Point for the Heritage Nomination Project, Darius Gweh  and UNESCO Office local Coordinator Jenny Marday.

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