UNESCO calls for cancellation of coal plant, warns Lamu’s cultural heritage is in danger
UNESCO’s joint mission to Lamu Old Town has recommended that Kenya “not proceed with the proposed Lamu Coal Fired Power Station (Lamu Coal project) as the project will have negative impacts” on the World Heritage site.
The mission further recommended, newly, that Lamu Old Town be considered for inclusion on the List of World Heritage in Danger. The mission’s report cited the progression of the LAPSSET (Lamu Port — South Sudan — Ethiopia Transport) Corridor project, the decay of the built fabric of Lamu Old Town, and ensuing impacts on Lamu’s community and its culture.
In late 2019, the joint World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS / ICCROM Reactive Monitoring Mission conducted a visit to Lamu to review the state of conservation and impact assessment processes. Security risk assessments had delayed the visit for five years. In recent years, Save Lamu began to call for Lamu Old Town to be considered for the List of World Heritage in Danger due to the progressing threats.
Lamu Old Town was designated as a World Heritage site in 2001.
World Heritage Committee decisions will be finalised at the next Session, to be held in Fuzhou, China, in June-July. (The 2020 session was postponed due to Covid-19.)
Advocacy group World Heritage Watch continues to support community UNESCO engagement and advisory processes. This coming Tuesday, December 1, is the deadline for submission of papers, which will be reviewed for potential publication in spring 2021.
Further background information:
UNESCO and Lamu: Overview
Lamu Old Town has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2001.
Assessment of Lamu coal plant by UNESCO mission (2020)
Excerpts from report (29 June 2020) following mission visit (29 November to 4 December 2019)
Overview of Report from Joint UNESCO Mission to Lamu (2020)
Overview of Report on the Joint World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS / ICCROM Reactive Monitoring Mission to Lamu Old Town