National Heritage Fund (NHF)

The National Heritage Fund (NHF) is a body corporate under the Ministry of Arts and Culture of the Government of the Republic of Mauritius. Before the setting up of the National Heritage Fund, the heritage of Mauritius was managed by the Ancient Monuments Act of 1944, which was updated in 1985 through the National Monuments Act. In an attempt to develop and streamline the management of the heritage in the country the National Heritage Trust Fund was enacted in 1997 and finally this became National Heritage Fund in 2003, accompanied with a new act, under which it operates up to today. However the Act is under review and this will ensure that the Act governing heritage in Mauritius is up to date and meets the needs of the present. It will also domesticate in it the various international conventions that Mauritius has signed since 2003.

The vision, mission and objectives of the National Heritage Fund are as follows:

“To develop a sense of belonging by caring for the past and bequeathing it to the future”

“To identify, valorize, and promote the Republic of Mauritius’ National Heritage”


  • To safeguard, manage and promote the National Heritage of Mauritius
  • To preserve the National Heritage sites as a source for scientific and cultural investigation and as an enduring basis for the purposes of development, leisure, tourism and enjoyment of present and future generations worldwide
  • To educate and sensitize the public on cultural values, national heritage and to instill a sense of belonging and civic pride with respect to National Heritage

In addition to the above, in the last couple of years and based on the international trend, the National Heritage Fund has in-cooperated in its objectives and actions the spirit of Community engagement, promotion of partnerships and sustainable heritage conservation and use. In this regard, the Fund has developed an approach of working closer to communities, including those stakeholders in the arts and culture spheres as well as planning for sustainable use of heritage resources.



The National Heritage Fund has major responsibility of preserving and promoting the heritage of Mauritius in the forms of archaeological sites, historical buildings, monuments or any object or property of cultural significance.

Presently there are 196 sites including buildings and monuments, listed as National Heritage. These monuments, architectural and archaeological sites are the testimony of our history and tangible cultural heritage.

Furthermore, there is a list of over 200 potential sites already identified by the National Heritage Fund waiting to be listed as National Heritage. The NHF has the responsibility to ensure that these heritage sites are properly maintained and safeguarded. All these are done in close collaboration with the parent Ministry, the owners and the communities concerned.

The Republic of Mauritius is a signatory to various conventions including one dealing with heritage. To this end some of the most important conventions of which Mauritius is a signatory are those of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)



UNESCO seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding universal value to humanity. In regard to this, the Government of Mauritius as a State Party to UNESCO ratified a number of UNESCO Conventions namely the 1972 World Heritage Convention, and the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity amongst others.

The Government of Mauritius has, since 2003 been keen to inscribe some the country’s National Heritage sites on the World Heritage List. So far two properties have been inscribed as World Heritage Site namely, Aapravasi Ghat and Le Morne Cultural Landscape. Though, the Government has created two Funds namely the Aapravasi Ghat Trust Fund and Le Morne Heritage Trust Fund to manage the two World Heritage properties, the National Heritage Fund has the responsibility to oversee and monitor any work undertaken on these World Heritage Sites to ensure that the Outstanding Universal Value and guidelines for the preservation of these properties are respected.  Thus as the custodian of the national law under which these properties must first be listed, the National Heritage Fund plays its role in close partnerships with the two Funds.



In order to fulfill its mandate as a State Party to the UNESCO 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage and the Government had declared National Heritage Fund as the National Repository for Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH), with a mandate to preserve and promote the ICH of the country. To meet its obligations on behalf of the State party of Mauritius, for the implementation of the Convention, a documentation of intangible cultural heritages in Mauritius has been carried out and a National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage developed and is being updated on a regular basis as per the convention. The National Heritage Fund is also the National Repository of the safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Republic of Mauritius. All the activities carried under this convention such as workshops and community consultations are organised in close consultation and partnerships with communities and are geared towards the safeguard and promotion of our Intangible Cultural Heritage of the peoples of Mauritius.

It is important to note that in the past seven years, the Republic of Mauritius succeeded in inscribing three elements inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage and one element inscribed on the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding.  Sega Tipik, the Bhojpuri Geet Gawai, Sega Tambour Rodrig and Sega Tambour Chagos whose nomination preparation were led by the National Heritage Fund under the Ministry of Arts and Culture were inscribed in 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 respectively.

As per the UNESCO requirements, every state party to the ICH 2003 Convention has to submit every six years a Periodic Report for intangible heritage in its territory.

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