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Tourism Ministry holds awareness raising workshop on 1970 & 2003 UNESCO Conventions

March 17, 2021

By Ibrahim Kabba Turay

Dr. Memunatu B. Pratt, Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs and participants 

In a bid to promoting culture and tourism in the country, the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs and UNESCO yesterday held a day’s awareness raising workshop for the Ratification of the 1970 & 2003 UNESCO Conventions.

The workshop, which was held at the Council of Church in Sierra Leone (CCSL) Hall, Kingharman Road in Freetown, brought together over twenty participants from all regions across the country.

 The session was aimed at promoting awareness for the Ratification of the 1970 & 2003 UNESCO Conventions.

In her keynote address, Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs,Dr. Memunatu B. Pratt, stated that despite the tourism sector was badly hit over the years, the ministry had shown resilience to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that with her leadership qualities she has exposed the ministry to  the international  stage .

She said Sierra Leone is endowed with very rich, warm and unique natural and cultural heritages that deliver an African experience and adventure, noting that successive governments had paid attention to the development of beach tourism.

She said the workshop was geared towards raising the level of awareness about those two significant conventions-the 1970 convention that deals with the means of prohibiting, preventing the illicit import, export and transfer of ownership of cultural property.

She noted that the 2003 convention is concerned with the “Safeguard of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.”

She stated that the  two conventions are like husband and wife, with the 1970 document dealing with products within the creative and cultural industries while the 2003 deals with the innate ability given to people.

“Therefore, it should be the responsibility of all and sundry that we domesticate these conventions in order to protect and safeguard both our tangible and intangible cultural heritages,” she said

She craved the indulgencies of all those who have received the questionnaires to treat them with outmost seriousness and sincerity so that “we will come out with facts that will help us plan and cater for the necessities that will protect and promote our cultural property and talents.

“Our government is committed to developing a sound eco-tourism niche market through strategic approach to enhance its sustainability and long-term competitiveness in order for tourism to realise its fullest potentials,” she said.

She thanked UNESCO for providing the requisite support for the exercise and admonished participants to have a fruitful deliberation because; “together we can domesticate and implement these conventions.”

 Secretary General of UNESCO, Dr. Mohamed Combo Kamanda, highlighted some of the ultimate objectives of the awareness raising workshop, which included conserving the natural resource base of the country, promoting the country as a premier eco-tourism destination, and securing economic benefits for local communities without adversely affecting their cultural ethos.

He said the workshop was long overdue but that he was grateful that they have organized it at long last.

He congratulated the ministry for the timely intervention of organizing the workshop

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