14.09.2012 - UNESCO Office in Hanoi

Conference on World Heritage and Sustainable Development


Ninh Binh, 14 September – The ASEAN Sub-Regional Conference on "The 1972 Convention and Sustainable Development: Toward a synergy of the 1972 Convention and the Man and Biosphere Programme" was held in Ninh Binh, where State Parties discussed the interaction between the 1972 Convention, the Man and Biosphere Programme (MAB) and other UNESCO conventions for comprehensive conservation and rational use of heritage values.

The aim of the World Heritage Convention, adopted in 1972, is the identification, protection, conservation, presentation and transmission to future generations of cultural and natural heritage of outstanding universal value. The conference promoted cooperation between UNESCO and ASEAN in preservation and sustainable development of natural resources and cultural values, where State Parties discussed: (1) how to enhance the role of communities in management, conservation and promotion of heritage values; (2) review the implementation of 1972 Convention and (3) advocating the role of the 1972 Convention in relation to conservation as well as sustainable development.

The official theme for the celebration of the Convention’s 40th anniversary is “World Heritage and Sustainable Development: the Role of Communities”, highlighting the importance of integrating World Heritage management in regional strategies. Local communities are the key drivers in documenting and safeguarding intangible cultural heritage. Their knowledge and customary practices play an important role in stabilizing livelihoods. Therefore, communities living in and around heritage sites as well as biosphere reserves, mostly experiencing high levels of poverty and largely dependent on natural resources, should get the chance to become more involved and benefit from increasing tourism.

In his opening speech at the conference, Mr. Kishore Rao, Director of UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre, congratulated Viet Nam for the inscription on the World Heritage List of its seven cultural and natural heritage sites which beautifully illustrate the rich heritage of the country. He stressed that along with the many benefits deriving from inscription come challenges and responsibilities, including the need for all stakeholders to carefully manage growth, balancing conservation of the sites with aspirations for development.

Beyond the conference, a number of other meetings and events focusing on this topic are scheduled over the year targeting on new ideas and recommendations for the future. The closing event of the Anniversary will be held from 6-8 November in Kyoto, Japan.

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