Tanzania participated at the 40th World Heritage Committee meeting in Istanbul, Turkey from 10th to 20th July 2016. In the meeting, Tanzania was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry for Natural Resources and Tourism Major General Gaudence Milanzi. In the side event to commemorate 10 years of the African World Heritage Fund, Major General Milanzi reminded members of the World Heritage Committee meeting that the Ngorongoro Declaration on Safeguarding African World Heritage as a Driver of Sustainable Development, adopted in Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania on 4 June 2016. Owing to its outstanding universal natural and cultural heritage value, Major General Milanzi informed the delegates that Ngorongoro was the first Tanzanian site to be inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1979 and as mixed property in 2010. He informed the delegates that, internationally, the Ngorongoro is also recognised as a part of the Serengeti-Ngorongoro Biosphere Reserve under UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Program since 1981 and it is an aspiring Geo-park.
Major General Milanzi reminded the delegates that the Ngorongoro Declaration, different from other common Declarations, is characterised by the following key features: it attempts to describe the concept of sustainable development in the contents and contexts of development challenges facing Africa states; it draws its mandates from the vast experiences of Africa in conservation and management of natural resources of Africa; it understands, in broader terms, the issues of capacity in the management of the heritage sites; it promotes social cohesion within and outside their borders using heritage values and promotes gender equity; it recognizes that social capital (partnership and networking) important for conservation and management of the sites; it reiterates the role of the local communities in the conservation and management and their dependence on WHC; and it recognizes the massive direct and opportunity costs affecting the rural population for the protection of the sites, and a need to effectively and efficiently mitigate these costs.
He emphasized that in order to ensure that the Ngorongoro Declaration is implemented and African states accrue tangible benefits from the sites and in order to ensure the balanced approach in heritage conservation and sustainable development in Africa three things are necessary: development of action plans, consistent with the Declaration; undertaking of strategic environmental appraisal of the plans; and monitoring and evaluation of the development plans.
Major Generally Milanzi emphasized that Tanzania understands that every development action has an impact and that there is no impact free development. He reiterate that every decision about the heritage sites, including ‘no go decision’ or ‘no action decision’ promoted by developed nations, had impacts on the our natural and cultural heritages. Major General Milanzi informed the delegates that science and technology have advanced so much over the decade, and therefore, with appropriate science and technology, African states can optimize conservation and use of the world heritage sites with minimum possible adverse effects and without compromising the values of these sites, and in essence this is sustainable development.
On behalf of my Government, we would wish to sincerely thank UNESCO for accepting a request from Tanzania to host the meeting on Safeguarding African World Heritage as a Driver of Sustainable Development in Tanzania. We would also wish to extend our sincere gratitude to the Government of the People’s Republic of China and other donors for generous support granted to UNESCO and make it possible to hold the meeting in Tanzania. We thank you all for continued support. Tanzania was participating in this meeting for the first time as the member of the World Heritage Committee, representing Africa together with Angola, Zimbabwe and Bukina Faso. Tanzania is boosting of having 7 world heritage sites, which includes Selous Game Reserve, Serengeti National Park, Kilimanjaro National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Tanzania was also represented by Amb. Taj Begum of Embassy of Tanzania in France, Director of Antiquities Mr. Donatius Kamamba and Conservator of Ngorongoro, Dr. Freddy Manongi and Prof. Elizabeth Kiondo of Tanzania UNESCO office in Paris.