PARIS: MICAT, UNESCO World Heritage Center Sign Agreement

(UNESCO-Paris, France-November 23, 2015)The Ministry of Information, Culture Affairs and Tourism has entered into an agreement with the World Heritage Center of UNESCO for the holding of a workshop for Liberia in line with its tentative list under the UNESCO International Assistance Program.

The agreement which is valued over US$29,000(Twenty-Nine Thousand dollars) was signed by Assistant Information Minister for Culture, Louise Mcmillann, representing the Ministry of Information and the Director of the Heritage Division of the World Heritage Center Mechtild Rossler in Paris, France.

The Ministry was granted the agreement under the framework of the International Assistance request for the “World Heritage Tentative List Workshop for Liberia” as submitted by the State Party of Liberia and approved by the Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee.

The agreement states that UNESCO will identify and issue contracts to one international expert in World Heritage Convention, and two national experts in natural and cultural heritage, to prepare and lead the Tentative List workshop and  ensure that a wide range of stakeholders are aware and involved in the preparation and finalization of the Tentative List, including site managers, local and regional governments, local communities, NGOs, the media and other interested parties and partners.

The parties agreed to liaise regularly with the three experts to ensure that mentoring with site managers is being carried-out over the planned preparatory period, and that PowerPoint presentations according to the official Tentative List format for each pre-selected sites are prepared in time for the workshop, initiate partnerships with universities (especially national and African universities) to solicit their involvement in the preparation of the Tentative List as well as eventual nomination filing.

At the end of the workshop, a validation workshop with national authorities concerned is to be held in order to inform them to endorse the tentative list prior to its official submission to UNESCO World Heritage Center through the Liberian National Commission for UNESCO no later than May 30, 2016.

The agreement states that the Ministry of Information will provide a venue for the workshop and provide necessary audio-visual and other equipment needed and at the end of the activities, a comprehensive report will be required for submission to UNESCO for review by the Advisory Board.

At the 38th Session of the UNESCO General Conference in Paris, France, Deputy Information Minister Isaac W. Jackson and Assistant Information Minister for Culture Louise Mcmillan participated and held several side meetings with the UNESCO World Heritage  Center at which time the Liberian delegation appealed for specialists to help in the conducting of a training for the creation of a tentative list and validation of Liberia's World Heritage sites.

According to a dispatch from the Liberian Mission in Paris, Ministers Jackson and Mcmillan informed the UNESCO officials then that the processes and procedures leading to domesticating the Conventions were far advanced in Liberia, as the compilation of the Conventions was taking place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The two Liberian officials made requests for training opportunities for the Liberian National Police, Bureau of Customs and Bureau of Immigration to ensure that they acquire professional training to prevent illicit exportation of cultural properties from Liberia.

At the same time, the MICAT team made another appeal for a Liberian lawyer to be trained preferably in Italy, to assist in drafting of the Conventions into domestic laws.

The team’s requests were accepted in the affirmative.

In a related development, the MICAT team held discussions with Mr. Guy Berger, the Director of the Division of Freedom of Expression and Media Development, Communication and Information and his team.

During the discussion, Deputy Minister Jackson briefed the team about progress that has been made in Liberia regarding press freedom and free expression under the Sirleaf administration.

Deputy Minister Jackson said the Sirleaf-led government has passed more media-friendly laws than any other government in the history of Liberia and appealed for equipment and training for Information Officers to build their capacity in media and communications matters.

Director Berger accepted Deputy Minister Jackson's appeal and promised to grant the training opportunities.

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