The Albertine Rift Conservation Society (ARCOS), as the secretariat of the Africa Regional Mountain Forum, wishes to extend its heartfelt commendation to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for their recent decision to inscribe four magnificent African sites onto the prestigious World Heritage List. These newly designated sites, each possessing unique and invaluable natural and cultural attributes, serve as a testament to the outstanding global significance of Africa’s diverse landscapes and heritage.
These inscriptions are a significant step towards recognizing the critical importance of African mountains. African mountain ranges are often underrepresented on the world stage, despite their immense ecological, cultural, and socioeconomic value. These newly inscribed sites, such as Nyungwe National Park, Gedeo Cultural Landscape, Bale Mountains National Park, and the Forest Massif of Odzala-Kokoua, bring long-overdue attention to the exceptional mountainous regions of Africa.
While we celebrate these inscriptions, we also wish to draw attention to the numerous other mountainous regions across Africa that remain in need of recognition and protection. Africa’s mountains are not only repositories of biological diversity but also sources of freshwater, cultural heritage, and vital ecosystem services. They are key players in climate regulation, providing resilience against climate change impacts.
ARCOS calls upon the international community to continue supporting initiatives that highlight the importance of African mountains and to extend their efforts to safeguard other mountainous regions across the continent. By doing so, we can ensure that these invaluable natural and cultural treasures are preserved for generations to come, and that the vital role of African mountains in sustaining life on Earth is fully appreciated and protected. We applaud UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee for their visionary decisions and encourage all stakeholders to join hands in this noble endeavor.