On the 3rd and 4th December, Africa members of the International National Trusts Organisation (INTO) met in Entebbe to discuss the relevance of cultural heritage promotion in the continent’s current development context. The meeting was hosted by the Cross-Cultural Foundation of Uganda and brings together representatives of the 8 African members of INTO.

INTO is an international organisation with 85 member organisations, across 65 nations and territories. Members share a common approach to the conservation of global heritage – built and natural, tangible and intangible. Together, INTO members exchange expertise, promote best practice, share resources to increase global capacity for heritage protection and lend their voices to key discussions in the heritage sector.

Participants  assembled to discuss how to promote cultural heritage safeguarding in the light of the many challenges the continent is facing. In particular members addressed the question: “Cultural Heritage Preservation: why a priority for Africa now?”. This question arises in a context where heritage protection and promotion is often seen by Government and civil society as a “low priority” (or even as “irrelevant”) in terms of national development objectives. Members debated on how such a perception can be changed and how the critical role of heritage can be better supported in the areas of education, cultural tourism and heritage enterprises.

Members of the INTO Africa group during deliberations

The meeting was addressed by prominent cultural heritage experts from the National Commission for UNESCO, Makerere University and the INTO secretariat.