In the magnificent setting of the Victoria Falls / Mosi-oa-Tunya transboundary World Heritage Site shared by Zambia and Zimbabwe, 20 participants from 16 different African countries explored the challenge of returning people to the centre of conservation. The African Regional Course on Promoting People-Centred Approaches to Conservation of Nature and Culture (PNC18), held from 14 to 24 August, provided conservation practitioners with tools to work more effectively with communities through existing management systems and to pursue the well-being of both heritage (natural and cultural) and society as a whole. Participants practiced ways to connect nature, culture and people in heritage management while learning about challenges and opportunities for sustainable development. As the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park acts as the buffer zone of the World Heritage site, course instructors discussed in depth the challenge of managing multiple categories of heritage designation among different institutions.
Participants also visited nearby community development initiatives that provided positive input into how conservation decisions can benefit the local society.
Course partners included ICCROM, IUCN and the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment, in collaboration with the African World Heritage Fund, ICOMOS, UNESCO World Heritage Centre and the National Heritage Conservation Commission of Zambia.
The UNESCO World Heritage Committee has observed that many activities undertaken in and around World Heritage sites can have negative impacts on Outstanding Universal Value (OUV). While tourism, infrastructure development, new buildings, urban renewal and changes to land use all play a vital role and provide benefits to the society, the Committee has stressed the need to undertake Impact Assessment studies to understand how development affects heritage.
The Course on Impact Assessments for Heritage (HIA China), held 15–26 October, shared with 22 participants from 17 countries knowledge of management and monitoring requirements and reporting mechanisms for World Heritage properties. Participants learned about the benefits of linking nature and culture and discussed the role of impact assessments as an evaluation tool in heritage management planning. The course was held at Zhenze Historic Town near Shanghai, which is on China’s World Heritage Tentative List with 13 other waterfront towns.
Partners included the World Heritage Institute of Training and Research for the Asia and the Pacific Region under the auspices of UNESCO, Shanghai Centre (WHITRAP Shanghai) and ICCROM. The World Heritage Leadership Programme is a capacity-building programme delivered by IUCN and ICCROM in collaboration with ICOMOS and WHC and other organizations and is implemented with the support of the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment and other partners.
How should decisions be made regarding projects in or near World Heritage properties? This was the subject under discussion at the Heritage Impact Assessments course that took place in Kotor, Montenegro, from 3 to 6 December.
Twenty-seven participants came from six countries in Southeast Europe, where impact assessments are increasingly being requested to help in decision- making for development projects. The course aimed to improved participants’ ability to communicate their recommendations to other stakeholders by using clear and defendable assessment methodologies based on heritage values.
ICCROM implemented the course in cooperation with the National Commission of Montenegro for UNESCO, within the framework of the UNESCO World Heritage International Assistance Fund and with the financial support of UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe.
On 24–28 September, ICCROM, IUCN, and ICOMOS jointly delivered a course on the specific procedures and structures of the World Heritage Convention. The city of Bergen generously hosted participants on the premises of the University of Bergen. A total of 18 heritage professionals from all the Nordic and Baltic countries reviewed key concepts, processes and working procedures of the World Heritage Convention, including protection, management and monitoring processes for World Heritage properties. Participants also learned how the Advisory Bodies prepare the State of Conservation reports presented to the World Heritage Committee each year. Effective management, resilience and impact assessments all received special attention.
The course featured numerous lectures delivered by World Heritage Advisory Bodies. The World Heritage sites of the West Norwegian Fjords (Component of Nærøyfjord) and Bryggen provided case studies for simulating an evaluation mission.
This course was implemented under the World Heritage Leadership Programme, a capacity-building programme delivered by IUCN and ICCROM in collaboration with ICOMOS and UNESCO World Heritage Centre, and developed with the support of the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment and other partners.
From 8 to 19 October, 23 participants from 11 Member States met in Macao SAR, China, for the Management and Monitoring of World Heritage Sites course. Through theoretical lectures and on-site practice, participants learned about current thinking, trends and approaches to management of cultural World Heritage properties, with a particular focus on monitoring. The World Heritage-listed Historic Centre of Macao, which brings together aesthetic, cultural, religious, architectural and technological influences from East and West, offered a unique case study to review course concepts.
The course was jointly sponsored by ICCROM, China’s National Cultural Heritage Administration (NCHA) and the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture of the Government of Macao SAR. It was co-organized by ICOMOS China and the Institute for Tourism Studies of Macao.