07.05.2012 - UNESCO Venice Office

Albania to prepare for disaster risk to World Heritage properties

© UNESCO - Tzigounaki, Anastasia

The Conference on “Disaster Risk Preparedness and Management in Cultural Heritage Sites” scheduled at the World Heritage site of Berat in Albania on 8 May 2012 is jointly organized by the UNESCO Venice Office with the SUSTCULTproject "Achieving SUSTainability through an integrated approach to the management of CULTural heritage”, led by the City of Venice and financed by the South East Europe (SEE) Programme, and the One UN Programme in Albania, in partnership with ICCROM and the Ministry of Tourism, Cultural Affairs, Youth and Sports of Albania.

The event will show local stakeholders how an integrated approach is necessary for a good management of World Heritage sites, including the too often neglected risk dimension. An accomplished and inedited report, focused on first level of microzonation, conducted by a multidisciplinary team composed by Italian (CNR-IGAG) and Albanian researchers (Prof. I. Pojani, Prof. L. Duni) will be presented to the public during the conference.

The report depicts the magnitude of seismic and broader geomorphologic vulnerability at the World Heritage sites of Gjirokastra, Berat, Saranda-Butrint, including the Apollonia Archaeological Park. The work, co-sponsored by the One UN Coherence Fund, will offer a first general glance of the Geomorphologic hazard at UNESCO World Heritage sites in Albania. The policy impact on risk may prove highly relevant as reliable scientific data should provide crucial support to the decision makers on geo-risk management in UNESCO designated sites. The data to be produced is, in fact, considered very sensitive among designated sites managers to adequately tailor actions according to the magnitude and nature of the risk(s) at stake.

The conference will also offer the opportunity to award trainees, upon public presentation of their work, with the certificate for their attendance to the training held last year in November in Berat. The training was based on the newly published newly issued Resource Manual for “Managing Disaster Risks for World Heritage”.

The conference will be followed by a “site by site” visit of UNESCO-ICCROM team at the World Heritage sites of Gjirokastra/Berat and Butrint. This, in order to secure a post-training coaching support to the heritage and civil protection professionals, useful to help their efforts in devising new management plans for their sites. This is in full compliance with the World Heritage Committee “Strategy for Reducing Risks from Disasters at World Heritage Properties” which encourages all States Parties to develop disaster risk management plans for the World Heritage properties.

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