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UNESCO Wants Liberia To Ratify Int’l Conventions

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MONROVIA: An official of the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Liberia, Mr. Stevenson Seidi, has urged the Government of Liberia to ratify the Second Protocol of the Hague Convention of 1954 for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and other conventions.

He named other convention as the Protocol to the Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed conflict 1954 and Protocol to the Agreement on the Importation of Educational, Scientific or Cultural Materials, with Annexes A to H 1976.
Mr. Seidi who is the National Program officer of UNESCO in Liberia made the statement over the weekend in Monrovia at the start of a three-day Needs Assessment workshop for Liberia Update of Tentative list which include, East Nimba Nature Reserve (ENNR), Gola Rain Forest (Lofa Mano National Park) Sapo National Park and the Kpatawee Waterfall.

The workshop, held at the National Museum on Broad Street in Central Monrovia, was organized by the Ministry of Information, Culture Affairs and Tourism (MICAT), in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and World Heritage Center supported by the Japan Fun-In Trust through UNESCO Abuja Office.

Mr. Seidi called on government to further ratify the Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage 2001, the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions 2005, Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural and the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage 2003.

He said that the ratification of these conventions necessary because it establishes, maintains and promotes the list of cultural property and enhances protection.

He noted that under this instrument, Liberia’s cultural property will be protected in time of peace and armed conflict and will create, preserve and promote the list of cultural property and enhance protection; and State Parties will also be protected under this instrument in time of peace and armed conflict.

Mr. Seidi added that this regulation removes tariffs from importing educational materials from countries that are parties to this Convention.

He stressed that materials such as: books, research materials, films, slides, video-tapes and sound recordings of educational, scientific or cultural nature, library materials would enter Liberia without duties.

“This instrument strengthens and protects Liberia’s underwater cultural heritage and historical archipelagic for the benefit of humanity in conformity with provisions of the said Convention,” he said.

According to him, this enhances intercultural activities and promotes respect for the diversity of cultural expression; enhances democratic framework, tolerance, social justice, and mutual respect of peoples and cultures for peaceful co-existence at local and international levels.

The UNESCO Official indicated that it consolidates the supervision of archeological excavations, ensuring the preservation of certain cultural property and protects certain areas that are reserved for future research.

Mr. Seidi also said that it forestalls the illegal export and import, ownership and transfer of cultural properties.

“The instrument ensures respect for intangible cultural heritage of the communities, groups, and Liberians, it safeguards intangible cultural heritage present in Liberia’s territory,” he noted.

He asserted that the Liberian Government should ratify this convention that would enhance the protection of our cultural property at all times.

“The Government of Liberia is encouraged to endorse this instrument in order to improve scientific research and the educational system in the country and should ratify this Convention in order to preserve our underwater cultural heritage for the promotion of intercultural activities,” Mr. Seidi said.

For his part, the Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism at the Ministry Information, Culture Affairs (MICAT) Mr. Lance K. Gbogonyon, lauded the participants of the program.

He recalled that in 2021, the Government of Japan signed an agreement with the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNECSO) to support the capacity building program for nomination of World Heritage Sites in the African Region’.

He noted that it was aims to support 10 countries in the African region without inscribed properties (Burundi, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eswatini, Guinea, Bissau, Liberia, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan) to develop strong and credible nomination dossiers.

He said this four-year program which started from June 2021 and expected to come to an end in June 2025 for the nomination of the World Heritage Sites in the African region is aims to build the capacity of the world Heritage expert to increase the number of African Sites inscribed on the World Heritage list, while ensuring that current and future African Sites inscribed on the properties remain in a satisfactory state of conservation.

According to him, the main objective of this program is to improve the representation of the African region on the World Heritage list by developing strong nomination dossiers for non-represented States Parties, and to build the capacity of local heritage practitioners in heritage conservation and management.

The three day needs assessment workshop brought together participants from the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) , UNESCO”s Office in France, stakeholders from the cultural sector in Liberia, the Environmental Protection Agency, Forestry Development Agency among others.

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