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African Regional Course on Promoting People-Centred Approaches to Conservation of Nature and Culture (PNC18)


Partners: IUCN, Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment

In collaboration with: African World Heritage Fund, ICOMOS, UNESCO World Heritage Centre, and the National Heritage Conservation Commission of Zambia

Call for participants: do you work with communities and heritage places in Africa?


African Regional Course on People, Nature and Culture

We are seeking 20 participants to take part in an African regional course on Promoting People-Centred Approaches to Conservation of Nature and Culture. The course is open to:

  • Heritage practitioners from the cultural and natural heritage sectors, whether working in a specific heritage place or at a regional or national level.
  • Individuals involved in the conservation and management of cultural and natural heritage e.g. policy-makers and other representatives of institutions, non-governmental organisations, charities, local associations, community groups, researchers etc.
  • Individuals working with community groups who use heritage to bring benefits to society and/or heritage.

Participants should be able to demonstrate their involvement in ongoing activities with diverse communities and entities within the context of management activities at a heritage place with natural and cultural values. Importance will be placed on selecting some participants who deal with World Heritage properties and/or are active in capacity building initiatives to improve approaches to heritage conservation and management.

The course goal is to promote knowledge acquisition and exchange. Framed as a forum for participants from both the cultural and natural heritage sectors to share their experiences, the course will facilitate participants’ learning from each other as well as from others working with communities and heritage, who will contribute to the course as resource persons. Interactive sessions for sharing experiences will be balanced with lectures, case study visits and practical exercises based on case studies in the field.

The working language of the course will be English.


Course concept

The PNC course aims at contributing towards the new paradigm shift ‘from the care of heritage to that of pursuing the wellbeing of both heritage (natural and cultural) and society as a whole’. The goal is to strengthen understanding of people and communities as a core component of heritage management among those directly or indirectly involved in heritage management, thus ensuring that natural and cultural heritage have a dynamic and mutually beneficial role in society today and long into the future. This stems from an increasing recognition that heritage places - whether predominately cultural or natural assets or, as is nearly always the case, a mixture - are cared for, used and enjoyed by a vast array of players. Contributions to management, conservation and use of a heritage place come from a variety of sources but primarily: heritage-sector practitioners; policy-makers within institutions; and representatives of communities and networks, so working with all these groups can be essential for ensuring that benefits are gained for society and also for the heritage itself.

Another objective is to approach natural and cultural heritage conservation as an interrelated and interdependent concept rather than as separate domains, and to rethink current approaches where nature and culture management remain separate. The course aims to provide support to promote quality management at World Heritage properties and other heritage places through understanding the existing linkages and separation of nature and culture in many heritage management systems, which pose policy and institutional challenges, as well as complexities in daily work in specific heritage places. There is increasing awareness that natural attributes contribute to resilience of cultural heritage, but also that threats to natural attributes contribute to increased threats to culture, and vice versa. It is important for all relevant players to be aware of different attributes and values that build up the heritage place, and collaborate in using different approaches and methods to identify and protect diverse values holistically.

While debate on these issues have continued for some time, engaging people is still a real challenge at many heritage places. Linking nature and culture also has its realistic barriers, as institutional and legal protection systems have often been built up separately. However, there is increasing awareness that a people-centred approach to the conservation of nature and culture as a whole brings recognized benefits to heritage, to those working in the heritage sector and to communities. While there is no simple recipe, there are many examples that can be explored to understand the range of possible approaches and to inspire adaption of approaches elsewhere. There is also a variety of tools and methodologies developed which can be utilized to ensure effective management and good governance while addressing both potential threats and opportunities for increased benefits. Indeed, this course aims to bring those involved in heritage management and conservation together to share their experiences and learn from others in order to move practice in the field forward. Heritage should be seen as having the potential to play an active role in communities and to bring benefits to people, thereby demonstrating that heritage is meaningful to society and gaining society’s support for its ongoing use and protection.


Course goals and the course in context: The World Heritage Leadership Programme­

This new flagship course “PNC18 (People, Nature, Culture)” of the World Heritage Leadership Programme has emerged as a response both to greater recognition of the dynamic role of heritage in sustainable development and growing concerns over the divide between nature and culture in heritage management. It brings together and builds on the success of two previous courses that ICCROM has run, also in partnership with IUCN: “Linking Nature and Culture in World Heritage Site Management” and “People Centred Approaches: Engaging Communities in the Conservation of Nature and Culture.”

This course aims to provide participants with knowledge, skills and awareness necessary for working with diverse people and values in managing heritage places, including World Heritage, but also promote long-term networks for life-long peer learning and enhanced capacity building in the heritage sector. Moreover, the outcomes of this course, along with other World Heritage Leadership Programme initiatives, should contribute to consolidating people-centred approaches and nature-culture linkages throughout World Heritage processes since World Heritage has the potential to be a catalyst for improvements to institutional and legal frameworks in many State Parties with positive repercussions for heritage in general.

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 being developed with the support of the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment and other partners. It focuses on promoting links between people-nature-culture in the management of heritage places and securing heritage a more dynamic role in wider sustainable development.


Travel, accommodation and living expenses

Participants will be responsible for their round-trip travel costs to and from Zambia (accommodation and living costs will be provided). Candidates are strongly encouraged to seek financial support from sources such as governmental institutions, employers and funding agencies, and inform ICCROM of any funding secured or in the process of application. In cases of proven financial need, and depending on the availability of funding from external sources at the time of the course, a limited number of partial scholarships may be granted to cover travel expenses.



Please fill the ICCROM application form and send it together with a full professional curriculum vitae (in English and maximum 3 pages) to the following e-mail: PNC18 (at)

Only participants from Africa are eligible to apply to this course.