‘Let’s work better together to protect our heritage,’ say participants of UNESCO meeting in the Republic of Korea
Managers of cultural and natural World Heritage Properties in Nepal joined colleagues from other Asian countries at a UNESCO workshop on reporting the implementation of the World Heritage Convention held in Suwon City, the Republic of Korea from 7-10 December 2011.
The meeting reviewed the implementation of the World Heritage Convention in Asia and discussed top priorities for the region based on the analysis of the Periodic Reporting Questionnaires.
This questionnaire is a self-assessment tool to report the state of the conservation and management of inscribed properties to help develop strategies to address identified needs.
The meeting also provided the opportunity to share good practices and challenges related to the management of cultural and natural World Heritage Properties at the national level.
The meeting was attended by 43 focal points from 27 Asian State Parties, including Brunei Darussalam, a new member to the World Heritage Convention.
Representatives from advisory bodies to the World Heritage Committee (IUCN, ICOMOS and ICCROM), international mentors, experts and UNESCO staff from field offices and the World Heritage Centre were also in attendance.
In addition, Korean site managers and observers from different universities in Korea, ICOM Korea and the Kyeongin Daily participated.
Participants considered the meeting a success as it stimulated feedback and comments on the outcome analysis of the Periodic Reporting Questionnaire.
Linking the protection of the outstanding universal values of the properties with management and monitoring aspects is crucial for the effective implementation of the World Heritage Convention.
Regarding the situation in Asia, the priorities are to use the periodic reports to manage the sites more effectively; identify resources for regional projects; and to optimize international cooperation mechanisms.
Barna Bahadur Thapa from the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation and Suresh Suras Shrestha from the Department of Archaeology, both focal points for natural and cultural World Heritage Properties in Nepal, participated in the meeting and shared challenges and success stories from Nepal.
The two departments have been instrumental in ensuring the active participation of site managers from Nepal’s all four World Heritage properties for national level reporting.
“We hope that the Government of Nepal will take advantage from the many positive outcomes of the meeting,” said Barna Bahadur Thapa.
Suresh Suras Shrestha added: “Here is a great opportunity for partnerships with similar World Heritage managing authorities and UNESCO category II institutes in the region and we should use them to better protect Nepal’s World Heritage properties.”
Nipuna Shrestha of the UNESCO Kathmandu Office’s Culture Unit said: “UNESCO will continue to assist the Government of Nepal to implement the World Heritage convention in Nepal and to promote regional synergies of actions including developing a national strategy for capacity building in the field of heritage protection in general.”
The Suwon meeting was organized by the Korean National Commission for UNESCO and the Cultural Heritage Administration of Korea, in close cooperation with the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and was co-hosted by Suwon City and the Gyeonggi Provincial Government of the Republic of Korea.
The draft plan of action identified during the meeting will be presented as prioritized action points for Asia and will be used for consideration by the World Heritage Committee in its forthcoming 36th session in Saint Petersburg, Russia in mid-2012.
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