THE SAHARA OF CULTURES AND MEN Towards a strategy for the sustainable development of tourism in the Sahara, in the context of combating poverty

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1 Organisation des Nations Unies pour l'éducation, la science et la culture United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization THE SAHARA OF CULTURES AND MEN Towards a strategy for the sustainable development of tourism in the Sahara, in the context of combating poverty

2 WHY SET UP SUCH A PROJECT? Following the Millennium Declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2000, all United Nations System agencies are required to contribute as a priority to the struggle against poverty and extreme poverty. In this context, UNESCO s General Conference, at its 3 st session (November 2001), invited the Director-General to implement a Plan of Action composed of various projects related to the transversal theme The struggle against poverty, in particular extreme poverty.the project The Sahara of cultures and men is part of this UNESCO Plan of Action. The project falls in line with the follow-up of the World Summit on Eco-Tourism held in Quebec, Canada (19-22 May 2002), of the Rio+10 Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg, South Africa (26 August - 4 September 2002), of the WTO global code of ethics on tourism and of the Plan of action of the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity. Poverty - and particularly extreme poverty - is a denial of basic human rights and is today of concern to all societies, and its accompanying injustices, exclusions, deprivations and inequalities. Not only must they be dealt with but, moreover, their causes have to be confronted if social justice and cohesion, economic and social progress, and democracy are to be reached, without which peace cannot exist. Extract of the Strategy for cross-cutting theme: Eradication of poverty, especially extreme poverty As a source of exchange, innovation and creativity, cultural diversity is as necessary for humankind as biodiversity is for nature. In this sense, it is the common heritage of humanity and should be recognized and affirmed for the benefit of present and future generations. Extract of the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity THE CONTEXT The Sahara, common space to ten States - Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Sudan,Tunisia -, is characterised by a rich cultural, human and natural wealth, and a great fragility.this includes the cave paintings, Ksour and old cities, traditional music, a unique tangible and intangible heritage, magnificent landscapes ranging from dunes, mountains and oasis, and a rare and diverse flora and fauna. This heritage is threatened by modified ways of life, urbanisation and desertification, among others, and requires more attention and measures to safeguard and manage it appropriately.

3 WHAT ARE THE OBJECTIVES? Preserve Saharan cultural and natural heritage for future generations Promote tourism as a tool in favour of the struggle against poverty Encourage economically efficient tourism policies, which are respectful of heritage Encourage the participation of the Saharan population in the development of tourism Reinforce cooperation between Saharan States THE CHALLENGES There is no contradiction between an economically efficient tourism and an ethical and qualitative tourism, respectful of societies, cultural diversity and environment. Poorly planned development of tourism can be remedied.the solutions to sustainable, controlled tourism development must be researched using a global and interdisciplinary approach, through strengthened co-operation between concerned States, inspired by a common sustainable tourism strategy.

4 WHICH CONCEPTION OF SUSTAINABLE TOURISM? An holistic sustainability concept includes not only economic, social and environmental objectives, but it also incorporates respect for cultural diversity, the struggle against poverty and the participation of the local populations. This project includes an ethical dimension and proposes an anticipatory approach in order to consider complex development issues before they become too difficult to resolve. It also proposes to conceive tourism as a means of preserving cultural diversity, heritage, and knowledge of Saharan cultures and civilisations in order to stimulate the local economy. In this way tourism can be a tool in cultural activities, agriculture, herding, handcrafts, communication and transport activities. Thus conceived, tourism can stimulate dialogue between cultures and promote respect for differences, human dignity and peace. WHICH ACTIONS SHOULD BE UNDERTAKEN? 2002: Elaboration of a strategy based on thematic studies in the whole sub-region InternationalWorkshop: Tunis (18-19April): launching of the project 2003: Finalisation of the strategy at the International Workshop of Gardhaïa (19-21 April ). Elaboration of the Plan of Action 2004/ /2005: Implementation of the Plan of Action, involving activities that are already part of the partnership Some actions of the project Prospective studies in the fields of tourism and poverty eradication. Training courses: Tourism development, safeguarding and enhancing natural and tangible cultural heritage, project management (requalification and professionalization of NGO leaders, guides,tour Operators, etc.). Workshops for those in charge of the Saharan cultural and natural heritage: proposals of measures and improvements of studies about the socio-economic impact before the setting up of infrastructures. Support for micro-credits and cooperatives, especially in favour of women. Support for creativity, particularly through desert festivals. Safeguarding and enhancing the natural and tangible cultural heritage through the development and promotion of innovative trans-frontier cultural circuits, such as the Pilot-project The ksour road. Safeguarding and enhancing of intangible heritage (example: Imzad). Identification and preparation of site nominations for a possible inscription of properties on UNESCO s World Heritage List and applications for the UNESCO s list of masterpieces of intangible heritage. Improvement of the prevention and management of risks in Saharan cultural circuits. Enhancement of the co-operation between the States sharing the Sahara convention, trans-frontier thematic circuits, etc.

5 EACH ONE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS WAY OF TRAVELLING No one should forget that the men of the Desert - because we are their guests - may not always inform us, or dare say no although our behaviour may hurt them. We must not travel to impose our way of life on men and places, take hold of possessions and destroy natural wealth When we have a doubt on the good attitude and suitable action to adopt, we should ask advise from our guide or our local staff! The desert will rub down your soul The desert is not indulgent. It will shape your soul. It tans your body.the desert is beautiful. It never lies. It is clean. It is the salt of the earth. Théodore Monod Extract from the brochure Clean Deserts, published by five Tours Operators specialised in Saharan trips, in the spirit of the Traveller Ethical Chart WHICH RESULTS? Poverty reduction by empowering local economy (handcrafts, agriculture, breeding, etc.), creating enterprises and jobs (tourist guides, cultural managers, etc.), development and funding of micro-projects. Better knowledge, promotion and enhancement of Saharan environment and heritage. Strengthening co-operation between Saharan States through common measures (mobility, norms, labels, training, etc), and establishing national, sub-regional and international co-operation networks and common tourism projects.

6 EACH ONE HAS A ROLE TO PLAY The States offer a framework for sustainable development and for the struggle against poverty, strengthen the capacities of strategic tourism actors, improve the access to the sites and ensure their safety, maintain the quality of services and co-operate in the promotion of Saharan eco-cultural tourism. Travel operators,tour Operators, cultural and tourist Associations and NGOs, Experts implement tourism activities, inform and raise travelers awareness on the importance of respect for local populations lifestyles, culture and environment, contribute to local development projects, create circuits favoring the discovery of the Sahara and ensuring a fair salary to tourism actors. Local populations and travellers concretely contribute to the development of sustainable tourism by demonstrating responsible behavior that includes mutually respectful and profitable relations, and a positive attitude favoring the safeguarding and enhancing of heritage. International Organizations, United Nations Agencies in particular, play a role in catalyzing reflection and action, stimulating partnership; UNESCO s mission is, amongst others, to fulfill its role as an international ethical and intellectual forum. PARTNERS Member States concerned by the project, United Nations Agencies (WTO, UNDP, UNEP, UNICEF),ALECSO, BITS, etc. An International Network composed of institutions, experts and professionals: Foundation Déserts du monde, Observatoire du Sahara et du Sahel, Barth Institute, Desert Research Centre, Scientific intergovernmental Programmes of UNESCO, MAB and MOST, Tours Operators,Tourism Offices,Associations, IGOs, NGOs, etc. CONTACT UNESCO Mr Hervé Barré Division of Cultural Policies and Intercultural Dialogue Section of Culture and Development 1, rue Miollis Paris Cedex 15 France Conception graphique : Stéphane Rébillon Photos : Atalante

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