12.12.2012 - UNESCO Office in New Delhi

Seminar on Economics of Heritage

Restoration work planned for wall paintings of a heritage building in Pune (India)

In recent times economic growth has been increasingly reliant on cultural heritage and cultural assets. While the importance of heritage lies primarily in its cultural, historical and aesthetic values, heritage conservation is a costly affair and there has been a growing need to understand how heritage can be used as a tool for local development, how its value can be assessed and what are the economic and cultural benefits of heritage protection.

A two-day seminar, each in Pune and Bangalore was co-organized by UNESCO New Delhi, Indian Heritage Cities Network Foundation and French Embassy during 10-14 Dec 2012, in partnership with Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development Corporation (KUIDC). The objective was to bring together national and international experts in the fields of heritage conservation, from economists and public actors to students, conservation practitioners and entrepreneurs. 

The Seminar had four thematically-focused sessions, namely, academic perspectives on Heritage Economics in India and abroad, case studies on good practices of management of heritage sites, financial mechanisms for integrated heritage based development and impact of heritage on development. Over 200 participants attended the seminar including experts from Belgium, Egypt, France, Italy, and Indian experts from Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Pondicherry.

Among the vibrant ideas put forward for future endeavours, the development of a special conservation zone in Pune, the institution of an integrated approach to city beautification in Karnataka and the documentation of existing good practices are to be found. The seminar paved the way for concrete tangible work on heritage based development beyond mere advocacy and was concluded with a call for action to all.

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