Skip to main content
Ethiopia elected member of UNESCO

Ethiopia elected member of UNESCO

Ethiopia has been elected as a member of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO – the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization for a four year term. This took place during the 22nd General Assembly of the World Heritage Convention in Paris, France.

The selection was made by representatives of 193 nations, who took part in a secret ballot vote on Wednesday. Ethiopia was one of the nine nations chosen to be part of the 21-member committee.

The committee is known to choose World Heritage Sites around the world.

Within Ethiopia, nine sites have been designated as “historic”, including Axum, Lalibella, Tiya, Siemen National Park, the Omo Valley, and Awash Valley, Konso, Harar Jugol and Fassil Castle.

According to UNESCO, picked for the prestigious list, are landmarks chosen for having cultural, historical and scientific significance, and are legally protected by international treaties.

There is an extensive nomination process, whereby each nominated site is visited in person by members of the International Council on Monuments and Sites and the World Conservation Union, which give their opinions to the World Heritage Committee.

Many countries, including Ethiopia use these destinations to lure tourists to their shore. It is also used as part of a marketing strategy to win international events with financial benefits. 

Ethiopia is one of the original signatories of the UNESCO 1972 Convention, during the ear of Emperor Haileselassie I to help protect World Cultural and Natural Heritage. However, most of the locally designated sites remain in dire need of protection, with neglect and little government support. 

Lalibella, for instance, will be restored by the aid the Government of France guaranteed during the visit by President Macron. 

Since then, its Minister of Culture, Franck Riester, has visited the capital and Lalibella, and has held a meeting with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) on the status of the promise to help, while Axum; another neglected treasure has been visited by a high-level delegation from Italy, for a needed restoration assistance project.