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Difficult Dialogues on the WHS status of Stone Town @ ZIFF

Hifadhi Zanzibar is asked to co-organise the Difficult Dialogues debate at the Zanzibar International Film Festival, with generous support from ACRA. This takes place on Wednesday 13 July from 19:20 at the Old Fort in Stone Town. For more information, please visit here.

The dialogues concentrate on the World Heritage Status of Stone Town, which is a subject close to Hifadhi’s heart. Its’ office manager Maryam Mansab will host the debate with representatives from the institutional, cultural and private sector on the panel. But the audience will be heard as well! Make sure you take part!

Right now, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee is gathered in Istanbul to discuss the status of World Heritage Sites across the world. In this yearly meeting the committee decides on new sites and advises on the status of existing sites.

Zanzibar’s Stone Town is renown for its rich history that is reflected in its buildings and urban structure. In the 90’s, the Government of Zanzibar made efforts for Stone Town to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This lead to the implementation of the Stone Town Planning regulations, Stone Town Heritage Management Plan and Stone Town Conservation Guidelines and all set up to save the historic character. This status was granted in 2000.

The aim for the government was to protect Stone Town as source of identity and cohesion for all Zanzibari’s and to improve its attractiveness for the tourists.

Zanzibar is known for its excellent beaches, but there are more places on earth offering this. However there is only one Stone Town in the world. Zanzibar recognised the potential of economic growth that comes with a successful tourist industry.

In the World Heritage Committee, it will be discussed if the World Heritage Status of Stone Town is at risk. Over the last years, UNESCO has been monitoring the way Zanzibar was maintaining its status and is questioning the way it operates.

What advise can we give the Zanzibar delegation that is currently in Istanbul to defend our case?

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