West Africa: ECOWAS to Hold Information Sessions Meeting in Banjul

9 December 2020

ECOWAS on Thursday, 10 December 2020 will hold the Information Sessions in Member States of the Regional Cultural Policy and ECOWAS Action Plan on Return of Cultural Heritage in Banjul.

Among the objectives of the Session would be to present to the various representatives of the member states the content of the two recently adopted guidance documents and also to appropriate the content and be inspired by it in their various strategic directions for cultural development.

In brief, the Conference of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS adopted on December 21, 2019 the 2019-2023 ECOWAS Action Plan on the return of African cultural heritage to their countries of origin, as well as the Regional Cultural Policy and its Action Plan. The adoption of the Action Plan on the return of heritage follows the Political Declaration of December 22, 2018 on the return of African cultural heritage to their countries of origin in order to reconstitute, conserve and enhance the regional cultural heritage.

The adopted documents are - The regional action plan on the return of cultural heritage to their countries of origin accompanied by a roadmap for its implementation; and The ECOWAS Cultural Policy document, accompanied as an annex to the Cultural Policy Action Plan and to the Cultural Policy Action Plan roadmap.

The overall objective of the Action Plan for the Return of Heritage is "to contribute to the return of the cultural heritage of ECOWAS member states to their countries of origin in order to restore the regional cultural heritage." And the overall objective of the Regional Cultural Policy is "to contribute to sustainable socio-economic development and regional integration by promoting cultural diversity and the cultural creative industries."

In accordance with the recommendations of the meeting of Ministers of Culture on July 17, 2019, these documents must be popularised through information sessions, so that the main players can take ownership of these documents and facilitate their implementation in the field. The aim of these sessions is to present the content of the two recently adopted guidance documents to cultural stakeholders so that they can not only take ownership of them and get involved in their implementation, but also to be inspired by these orientations in their daily actions.

It is in this perspective that ECOWAS has scheduled information sessions and popularisation of these documents in member states in order to allow the different actors to appropriate the content.

Consequently, the minister of Tourism and Culture, The Gambia, Hamat N.K. Bah will officially open the session while participants of the information sessions will include: the French-speaking zone which will group together the eight French-speaking countries and Guinea-Bissau, and the English-speaking zone which will group together the five English-speaking countries and Cape Verde.

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