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Pakistan and France have signed a €22 million (more than $22 million) financing agreement to extend technical and financial support for the renovation of Lahore Fort.

The government and the French Development Agency (FDA) signed the agreement on Thursday.

According to a statement released by the French Embassy, Heritage and Urban Regeneration in Lahore (HURL) project is part of the Walled City Lahore Master Plan aimed at the renovation and restoration of Lahore Fort, a symbol of the country’s rich history.

The focus areas of the project will be to promote tourism, generate economic activities and build climate change resilience for local communities.

Speaking on the occasion, French Ambassador Nicolas Galey said: “France is proud to be part of the ambitious plan of the Punjab government to develop and promote the unique cultural heritage of Lahore.”

He furthered that the rehabilitation and development of the Lahore Fort surroundings will be a powerful engine of sustainable economic development of the city by via increased tourist attraction and improved living conditions of the riparian populations.

Also read: Preserving heritage

The financing of the HURL project will span over five years and it is expected to contribute to the restoration and enhancement of the fort, strengthening its resilience.

The project will also generate additional income, and employment, especially for women and the transgender community.

It would also help expand tourism by including the neighbourhoods around the fort (buffer zone) as an interface for growth and building the capacity of the relevant authority and its partners.

Director-General Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) Kamran Lashari also attended the signing ceremony and appreciated the efforts made by the FDA.

The Fort and Walled City of Lahore, located in the heart of a metropolis of 11 million inhabitants, comprise a group of various singular monuments of exceptional historical and cultural value, and dense ancient neighbourhoods.

The listing of the fort as a World Heritage Site in Danger in 1981 by UNESCO highlighted the many threats to its integrity. In 2012, the Government of Punjab, WCLA and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) began a decade-long conservation initiative to restore and develop the site.

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