» World Heritage is a beacon for sustainable development
20.06.2014 - ODG

World Heritage is a beacon for sustainable development

© UNESCO/Matthieu Guevel -UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, addressing the 38th session of the World Heritage Committee, Doha, Qatar, June 2014.

As UNESCO examines new inscriptions on the World Heritage List, the Director-General Irina Bokova spoke of the challenges of World Heritage today and outlined her vision for the future.

"The idea of ​​World Heritage is all the more effective because it is noble and credible," she stressed. "In this assembly, we are the guardians of a vision, where each culture enriches and strengthens itself through the protection of all others. This is the idea we must transmit through the protection of heritage."

The Director-General commented UNESCO’s most recent achievements in the protection of cultural heritage in Mali, Egypt, Uganda, and called for the destructions and attacks against culture in Syria and Iraq to stop.

"The vitality of world heritage cannot be measured only by the number of sites we inscribe on a list – an idea is best protected when one remains faithful to it, and shows by the moral audacity in the long term,” she said.

Irina Bokova drew three main lines of action to continue carrying the message of World Heritage in the coming years: (i) absolute respect to the principles of objectivity and impartiality of the Convention, (ii) deepening the basic idea of ​​World Heritage, building new initiatives of cultural cooperation, for instance major cross-border projects and (iii) harnessing the potential of World Heritage to tackle contemporary issues, such as sustainable development, urbanization, protection of the Ocean and intercultural dialogue.

 “Culture goes beyond the inclusion of any particular site, it is a unique platform for peace and sustainable development, and it is this global vision that we must integrate in the United Nations post-2015 agenda.”

In the margins of the Committee, the Director-General met with various delegates and commended the authorities of Qatar for their contribution of $ 10 million for the prevention and management of risks at World Heritage sites

"This decision is particularly timely, given the threats to heritage today, Syria and Iraq in particular."

Irina Bokova will meet H.H Sheihka Mayassa Bint Hamad Al-Khalifa Bin Al-Thani, Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee, at an official reception at the Museum of Islamic Art, Doha.

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