Converging for the first meeting of the Regional Monitoring Committee of the 2019-2023 ECOWAS Action Plan on the return of cultural property to African countries was on Tuesday, June 29, 2021 at Benin Royal Hotel, Cotonou at the instance of Beninese Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts, Mr. Babalola Jean-Michel Hervé ABIMBOLA.

“This first meeting of the regional committee aims to examine the level of implementation of the 2019-2023 action plan more than two years after its adoption by the Heads of State and Government, and above all to meet the challenges that remain in order to boost the process of returning cultural goods to their countries of origin. ” said Mr. Blaise DIPLO-DJOMAND, the Resident Representative of ECOWAS in Benin at the opening of the proceedings.

On his part, Minister Jean-Michel ABIMBOLA believes that ECOWAS made a wise choice by choosing Benin to host the present work of the Regional Committee on the return of African cultural goods to their countries of origin, because Benin was one of the main initiators and will remain at the forefront of this noble struggle.

“Cultural property, which is the subject of a request for restitution, is the fruit of the creative genius of our ancestors and bears witness to a past that we must now approach in a constructive and uninhibited manner.” He said.

Beninese Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts, Mr. Babalola Jean-Michel Hervé ABIMBOLA with the Regional Monitoring Committe Members of ECOWAS

Jean-Michel ABIMBOLA also spoke on the capital importance of the first meeting and launched a vibrant appeal to the participants.

“I would like to encourage you to make realistic decisions”.

The meeting which is scheduled to end on July 1, 2021, has within the Regional Committee the Resident Representative of ECOWAS in Benin, Mr. Blaise DIPLO-DJOMAND, the Director of the Education, Science and Culture Commission of ECOWAS, Professor Abdoulaye MAGA, the 10 expected participants including 06 Committee members and 04 resource persons and all authorities and experts in the field of culture accredited by ECOWAS.

By Kazeem Balogun

Kazeem Balogun is the Managing Editor of Kalo Africa News.

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