The Director-General and the Governor of St Petersburg discuss the challenges of the preservation of the historic city centre
UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova met with the Governor of St Petersburg, Mr. Georgy Poltavchenko. In the iconic setting of Peterhof Palace, Irina Bokova expressed her gratitude to the Governor for generously hosting the 36th session of the World Heritage Committee in St. Petersburg. The Director-General paid special tribute for the excellent arrangements made to ensure the success of the meeting and thanked the authorities for the increased financial contribution for this milestone event, taking place on the 40th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention in a period of financial constraints for UNESCO.
They discussed the challenges posed by the preservation of the historic city centre of St Petersburg and the progress made by the municipality for the conservation of this site following the request of the World Heritage Committee to preserve its outstanding universal value.
The Director-General acknowledged the great complexity of preserving a serial property such as the "Historic Centre of St Petersburg and its Related Group of Monuments". She welcomed the efforts of the Russian authorities deployed for the cancelation of the Okhta Centre tower project and expressed hope that any new construction project in the property will be subject to a careful impact assessment from relevant national and international experts.
The Governor confirmed his commitment to make the preservation of the property a priority -- namely, to clarify the boundaries of the protected areas of the property and their buffer zones, to develop an overall Management Plan for the property, to provide a detailed heritage impact assessment for all new construction project, and to enhance the legal protection of the property.
Acknowledging the readiness of the city authorities to cooperate with international experts to ensure the preservation of the property in line with the recommendations of the World Heritage Committee, the Director-General emphasized the "very complex task and high responsibility which requires open dialogue and cooperation to overcome challenges posed by development pressures".