World Heritage and sustainable development launch of a capacity building workshop programme organised by ARC-WH on sustainable management of the sites of the Republic of Tunisia

The Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage (ARC-WH) has continued its efforts to preserve cultural and natural heritage in the Arab countries, and in the context of this goal, ARC-WH, in cooperation with the National Heritage Institute (INP) in Tunisia, organised the first online workshop for the sustainable management of World Heritage sites in the Republic of Tunisia programme, in the presence of Shaikh Ebrahim bin Hamoud Al Khalifa, Acting Director of ARC-WH, and several experts and specialists in the field of heritage and managers of World Heritage sites in Tunisia, in addition to representatives from civil society and local communities.

The workshop focused on studying the archaeological site of “Dougga”, which Tunisia inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1997, because the area that includes this site, which is also known as the “heart of Roman Africa”, still faces economic and social challenges despite its remarkable cultural richness and ancient heritage. Through the case study of this site, ARC-WH seeks to emphasize the importance of involving local communities and civil institutions in planning the management and development of World Heritage sites in a way that contributes to making the surrounding areas vital for economic, social and environmental development.

The workshop trained participants on ways to integrate sustainable development policies into managing World Heritage sites, and participants extensively discussed topics related to methodologies for management. Discussions also included ways to involve stakeholders in decision-making for conservation and development, implement integrated local development mechanisms, support local cultural entrepreneurship, and use heritage for social, economic and environmental development.

The sustainable management of World Heritage sites in Tunisia complements efforts that began in 2020 when the Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage (ARC-WH) collaborated with the World Monument Fund and the National Heritage Institute (INP) in Tunisia, the Tunisian Ministry of Culture to develop a series of training programmes on the preparation of site management plans aimed at improving the management of seven UNESCO World Heritage sites in Tunisia. The programme continues to follow up on work developments and provide support and advice to Tunisian experts and training until the beginning of 2024.