Meeting in Mauritania

The Traditional Building Cultures Foundation is collaborating with Union for the Mediterranean and the UNESCO in the organization of a series of meetings as part of the program Savoir-faire traditionnels de la construction dans le sud de la Méditerranée. The program is funded by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

The fifth of these meetings, after those held in Barcelona last July, in Tunisia last December, in Morocco last February and in Algeria last April, took place on May 9 and 10 in Mauritania, one of the countries that are part of the program. The event was organized in collaboration with the Ministère de l’Habitat, de l’Urbanisme et de l’Aménagement du Territoire and the Ministère de la Culture, de la Jeunesse, des Sports et des Relations avec le Parlement. A large number of national and international experts have participated in it.

Within the general context of the project, the Mauritania meeting focused on how to incorporate new architectures into historic ensembles so that they may be harmoniously integrated and contribute to the updating and continuity of local tradition, as well as how to restore and refurbish existing buildings with a view to these same aims.

Rehabilitation and upgrading of existing buildings in historic towns and the incorporation of new buildings to cater for various functions are processes that may help keep people living in such towns, generate activity, and facilitate the long-term preservation of these ensembles. But it is essential to address this question without losing sight of the need for such interventions not to detract from the identity of the place and its traditions, thereby jeopardizing its future and that of its resident community. We should also note the importance of acting in such a way as to encourage the local building industry and to generate quality employment, such as that linked to the skills of traditional craft trades.

This meeting gave rise to interesting exchanges of experience, discussions on the subject between the various stakeholders, and the emergence of promising initiatives and avenues of future collaboration between them.

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