CIE’s activities with Mozambique, thus far, have predominantly been concentrated upon the island of Ilha de Mozambique, working with the local community.
Ilha de Mozambique is a monumental fortified city. It has repeatedly been used as a trading hub, including as a major Portuguese port centre during their occupation. Its architectural heritage is rich, due to its consistent use since the 16th century, including the use of the same building materials and decorative principles. In 1991 Ilha de Mozambique was inscribed on the World Heritage List.
Due to this historical importance, the area is rich in underwater cultural heritage, including shipwrecks. These sites have repeatedly been commercially exploited in contravention to the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage 2001. The local community are greatly concerned about the loss of their heritage in this manner, it is difficult to prevent the treasure hunters from salving as there is little authority or political infrastructure that is capable of protecting this maritime and underwater cultural heritage.
The Ilha de Mozambique community desires that the shipwreck sites be protected and the UNESCO Convention ratified in order to improve the situation. They see their maritime and underwater cultural heritage as broader, and more inclusive also of the natural heritage, tradition objects, sites and knowledge, including intangible heritage. They recognise the need for a maritime program to provide benefits for the community, to assist them in developing the engagement and responsibility for protecting this heritage and developing it also for tourists.
CIE’s activities with Mozambique mainly concern maritime and underwater cultural heritage, under the core themes of: