Our flagship programme had a productive 2021, marked by digital transition, new activities and expanded resources to help effectively manage World Heritage and heritage places globally. This year is shaping up to be another milestone.

Last year, the World Heritage Leadership programme focused on converting courses, fora and workshops into online capacity building activities and made significant progress revising and developing key resources that will be published in 2022. We hosted and co-organized over 30 online activities across all regions of the world and connected with over 1 400 site managers, heritage practitioners, researchers, officials and institutions working with natural and cultural heritage places at the local, national and regional levels.

Digital transition and new activities

World Heritage Leadership has worked on establishing and developing a digital environment for capacity building, with key courses and activities successfully converted to online formats. These include People-Nature-Culture, Impact Assessment and Disaster Risk Management, heritage management courses, and the World Heritage Site Managers’ Forum. Despite the many challenges – temperamental internet connections and different time zones among them – the shift online has been largely positive, allowing more practitioners to take part in activities and significantly increasing participation from regions such as Africa and Latin America.

The digital transition has been further enhanced by the continuous development of the PANORAMA Nature-Culture Thematic Community and the publication of relevant solutions and case studies by course participants and the wider networks of ICCROM, ICOMOS and IUCN practitioners. In 2021, we also launched a pilot edition of the Heritage Place Lab, which brings together site management teams and researchers to create collaborative research agendas aimed at improving the management of World Heritage places through practice-oriented research.

World Heritage Leadership - 2021 in words

Resource development

Within the programme, we worked with IUCN, ICOMOS and the UNESCO World Heritage Centre to revise and develop essential resources aimed at supporting site managers, practitioners and institutions to effectively manage World Heritage properties and heritage places worldwide. Many of these will be published in 2022, including the new Guidance and Toolkit for Impact Assessment in a World Heritage Context and the revised Enhancing Our Heritage Toolkit 2.0, both coming in the next few months. The second half of the year will see the publication of the revised Managing Disaster Risk manual and integrated manual on Managing World Heritage, which are already being tested in capacity building activities.

The year ahead

It will be a milestone year for World Heritage Leadership in 2022, with the programme concluding its six-year cycle. Our focus is on publishing key manuals and resources and delivering regional, national and ad hoc capacity building activities in multiple languages and in all regions of the world.

We are starting the year with two World Heritage management courses for Chinese and African professionals in January and the first Spanish-speaking People-Nature-Culture course this February. In addition, we will be coordinating the next World Heritage Site Managers’ Forum in conjunction with the annual World Heritage Committee session. Plans are also underway to organize a World Heritage Leadership forum in Norway and a People-Nature-Culture forum in the Republic of Korea in the second half of the year.

Thank you to all our partners and collaborators for working with us and supporting us for the past year. We look forward to working together again in 2022!

World Heritage Leadership - where we had an impact in 2021