Heritage Protection
Heritage Protection

“It is time that we captured and documented these time-honoured approaches to knowledge dissemination and made them more widely available,” Mrs Ofosu-Adjare said in Accra.

Heritage Protection
Heritage Protection

Mrs Ofosu-Adjare was speaking at the opening of a three-day regional workshop in Accra on documenting and integrating traditional management systems and practices into the management of world heritage sites.

The UNESCO Accra office and the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts organised the workshop being attended by cultural experts in Ghana and Nigeria and other allied institutions to deliberate on how to protect and preserve the cultural heritage.

Mrs Ofosu-Adjare said Africa should be proud of the many endowed arrays of vibrant cultural and natural heritage features of both the movable and immovable kind.

“The continent also has spectacular cultural and natural landscapes that include sacred forests, lakes and mountains, caves and rock shelters. It is a continent of great biodiversity and even its animal life is unparalleled elsewhere.” she said.

She said: “The immovable cultural landscape of the continent ranges from the coral stone towns of the East African coast to the dry-stone walling of the eastern and southern African interior, from the pyramids of Egypt to the great earthworks of south-western Nigeria, and to the earth structures of Mali, Ghana and Benin, among others”.

Mrs Ofosu-Adjare said some of the ways in which traditional knowledge had been spread was through song, poetry, music, dance and other coded forms and that through the oral history and oral literature which formed part of the intangible heritage, “we have reinforced the tangible from generation to generation”.

She, however, said much needed to be done because the built heritage of many of African societies were in danger, from improperly planned development projects, natural disasters, inadequate protective laws and administrative frameworks, environmental degradation, vandalism and warfare.

She, therefore, commended UNESCO and its agencies; the African World Heritage Fund and the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board, for the various roles being played in putting the workshop together to help document the traditional methods and systems of conservation and find solutions for governments to implement.

Mrs Ofosu-Adjare said there would be a compilation of national heritage assets in Ghana which would be backed by a parliamentary bill that would help ensure the protection and development of heritage sites and also document the various traditional methods/systems of conservation associated with each site.

She said some of the sites and cultural landscapes to be documented in Ghana include the Cultural Landscape of Tongo-Tengzuk, the Nankani Tradition of decorated dwellings, Klowem also known as the Krobo Hills, the Kubong hills in the Northern Region, Gmimgile Stone (God’s egg), Koma Archaeological research area, and Lake Bosomtwe.

Mr Tirso Dos-Santos, the Head of Office and Representative of UNESCO, said the castles and forts in Ghana, built and occupied at different times by traders from Portugal, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Holland, Germany and Britain, served as important sites with important symbolic and historic significance for the world.

He said there was the need to adopt approaches that would encourage the involvement and participation of community and business members, ministries and other national authorities in decisions concerning the management and development of such world heritage sites.

Mr Riche-Mike Wellington, the Acting Secretary-General, Ghana National Commission for UNESCO, said culture was now the fulcrum within the framework of SDGs related to education, food security, the environment, economic growth, sustainable consumption and production patterns, peaceful and inclusive societies.

“As we know, the culture of any group of people is their heritage and as such, there is no way we can protect it without the traditions of the people especially in this era of increasing extremist aggression,” he said.

He, therefore, called on all to join the world campaign for heritage protection, dubbed: “Unite for Heritage” to create awareness, especially with school children and the youth, on the need to protect the country’s heritage.

By Lydia Asamoah, GNA

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