Ten Southern Africa Development Committee (SADC) countries will next week converge in Botswana, to exchange ideas on strengthening cooperation between cultural and heritage institutions, as well as law enforcement agencies.
Sponsored by UNESCO, the 10 countries – Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, South Africa, Angola, Lesotho, Swaziland, Malawi and Mozambique – will dialogue under the banner ‘Regional Capacity Building and Awareness’ from 5 to 7 November.
“The workshop will encourage collaborative effort in documenting, collecting and exhibiting cultural material,” Annah Bogatsu, the public relations officer at the ministry of environment, wildlife and tourism, said.
She said another objective of the workshop will be to create an effective platform for addressing issues of illicit trafficking through sharing information on missing objects.
Bogatsu said the SADC bloc will also discuss advocating for the ratification and implementation of relevant conventions for cultural and heritage institution.
West African countries have already set plans to fight against illicit trafficking of cultural properties following a similar workshop in September.
The bloc’s short-term actions include establishing inventories of cultural property, both in public and private ownership, and archaeological sites, with priority given to cultural objects that are particularly vulnerable to destruction, theft and illicit exportation, as well as to archaeological sites vulnerable to illicit excavations.