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Community Involvement and Social Investment for a Sustainable and Inclusive Management of Maritime Heritage in Mozambique: towards a new framework

This project responds to the unique challenges faced by Mozambique’s rich and varied maritime cultural heritage by bringing together experts from the UK and Mozambique to create a novel framework to help unlock the potential of that heritage for the local community. The work will be divided into three sections.

Firstly, we will be mapping the current challenges faced by Maritime Heritage in two port cities: Maputo and Inhambane, to assess political and legal bottlenecks which hinder the protection of the country’s maritime heritage. We will hold workshops to encourage debate on these issues with stakeholders including policy makers and experts. This will lead into a draft technical report.

Secondly, we will work on valuing the social benefits of maritime heritage in Mozambique using a contingent valuation approach and in-depth interviews with local fishermen to triangulate results. We will run a series of workshops which will prioritise engagement with women and minority groups, along with an engagement week to target schools, residents and workers within the local heritage sector.

Thirdly, we will look at innovative ways in which social investment and finance models can be used to assist heritage led economic development in Mozambique.

Throughout the project we will work on exploiting and disseminating the research to as broad a range of international stakeholders and beneficiaries as possible.

The project is part of the AHRC GCRF Rising from the Depths Network


The project aims to develop a novel framework for sustainable, heritage-led economic growth in the coastal areas of Mozambique, identifying inclusive governance models, appropriate community engagement tools and planning/regulatory tools, together with innovative financing mechanisms in support of sound Maritime Cultural Heritage (MCM) management policies.

The framework will inform an Inclusive Heritage Agenda able to unlock the potential of MCH for enhancing social cohesion, promoting long-term growth, new jobs and increased wellbeing for all sectors of society, including low-income groups, women, youth and the disabled. The project addresses the problem of the impacts of illegal exploitation and neglect on the preservation of marine cultural heritage, particularly with regard to the need for solutions to the disparate priorities of heritage conservation and local economic growth where for example, port infrastructures need to be upgraded whilst taking account of underwater heritage.

We aim to use a case study approach to focus on the evolution of Mozambique’s maritime cultural landscape in the two port cities of Maputo and Inhambane to explore the ever-changing relationship between local communities and their historic maritime landscapes. This will be used to validate our theoretical and methodological approach. Our project idea maps to the call through its rooting in the acknowledgement of African challenges (UNESCO, 2017 Annual Report on Mozambique) where communities struggle to have access to basic standards of living and have become estranged from their local tangible and intangible heritage.


The overarching objective of the project is to develop a novel framework (An Inclusive Heritage Agenda) for heritage led sustainable development, including governance, planning/regulatory/legislative tools and financial mechanisms capable to influence policymaking.

The project will promote awareness, pride and ownership of Maritime Cultural Heritage (MCM)  in local communities as engine for sustainable economic growth and social cohesion. It will also focus on appropriate local, social investment strategy, capable of creating a long financial stream for the benefit of local communities.

In order to achieve this, our main objectives are:

  • Develop guidelines for the co-creation of innovative financing and governance models, planning and regulatory tools to attract public and private investments in cultural and natural heritage preservation. We will achieve this by engaging with key stakeholders and by using the complementary expertise of the project team and the advisory board to unlock the economic value of MCH and establish a virtuous circular development process with heritage at the core. These guidelines will be part of our Inclusive Heritage Agenda and will include a set of indicators to monitor progress of investments towards relevant Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Develop an understanding of the historic and sociological mechanisms influencing the appreciation and symbolic/physical appropriation of the MCH by the local communities. This will involve an estimation of the social benefits of local heritage, using a survey based economic valuation technique (contingent valuation method) and through a number of focus groups style meetings with local populations and in-depth interviews to gather narratives on MCH. 3. Engage with end-users and relevant stakeholders to find solutions for the protection of MCH that are both appropriate and beneficial to all. This will be done through the organisation of workshops and focus groups style events to provide a forum where academics, industry, policy makers and communities can exchange ideas identify problems and deliver solutions, which benefit all.

Project Team and Partners

Professor Patrizia Riganti, PI

Dr Patrizia Riganti is Professor in Tourism at the School of Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Glasgow. She is an advisor and Fellow of ICCROM (International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property), and seats on two ICOMOS International Scientific Committees: Economics of Conservation and Energy and Sustainable Development. She is an architect, holding an MPhil in Urban Design, an MSc in Urban Planning and a PhD in Economic Valuation Methods in the Integrated Conservation of Architectural, Urban and Environmental Heritage.

UNESCO Office Maputo

UNESCO Maputo Office is a national office in the Southern Africa region within the Harare Multi-sectoral Regional Office cluster.

In partnership with the Government, other national and international partners, UNESCO undertakes strategic initiatives to create and reinforce the necessary policies, systems, programmes, and capacities to reach targets identified in existing national development strategies and in the ongoing UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) for the Republic of Mozambique.

Impact Summary

The project establishes a multidisciplinary consortium of internationally renowned researchers from the UK and Mozambique, to address the challenges and opportunities of heritage-based sustainable economic development in Mozambique. The project aims to empower the most marginalised sectors of society (poor, ethnic minorities, youth, women, elderly and disabled), giving them a voice whilst developing their awareness on the social benefits of Maritime Cultural Heritage conservation.

By developing tailored made social investment guidelines, we aim to remove the current barriers to heritage conservation and promote the production of sustainable wealth for all, so that all citizens may have equal access to and participation in settlements, which are safe, secure, inclusive, healthy and sustainable (Goal 11 of SDGs). The importance of localism and public participation in delivering sustainable settlements is recognised by the international debate and the project will ensure that local communities are given a voice in developing solutions that benefit all society and ensure local job creation, better services, increased disposable income and health improvements.

The research will consider the needs and aspirations of all sectors of city society, including the slum dwellers, youth, women and disadvantaged groups, and culturally, ethnically or politically marginalised communities. By enabling a bottom-up approach to meeting societal needs and aspirations the project will allow all voices within local communities to be heard, engendering a sense of ownership of the project outcomes. From a community perspective, the proposed research offers an attractive opportunity to examine and share findings between members of different stakeholder groups.

The main impacts following from the implementation of our project will be directly related to heritage-led sustainable economic growth, aimed at valorising the relationship between MCH conservation, social investments and economic/entrepreneurial activities based on heritage assets.