Closing speech

by Ms Mechtild Rössler, UNESCO World Heritage Centre

Dear participants, colleagues and friends,

On behalf of UNESCO I would like to thank all of you for your extremely valuable contributions to our expert meeting and for the lively interactions and debates at this challenging event.

I would like to specifically thank the Prince Albert II Foundation of Monaco for the funding and the Nordic World Heritage Foundation for its support to the expert meeting.

I sincerely thank the Norwegian authorities which have arranged for the invitation to the Senior Arctic Officials (SAO) meeting of the Arctic Council from which we really benefited. It showed the synergy effects of linking different meetings both in terms of cost effectiveness and substantive interaction. After the first World Heritage intervention at an SAO meeting we had the first ever expert discussions on World Heritage in the Arctic. I also hope that you will report back on the results of this meeting to your authorities and back to your constituencies. We very much hope to continue this excellent cooperation in the future for the benefit of the heritage of outstanding universal value in the Arctic but also for the people and local communities who live in the Arctic.

Therefore it is essential that we properly document the results of the meeting and we are looking forward to receiving your written contributions. First of all we would like to make it on-line and hopefully in hardcopy, in the UNESCO World Heritage paper series.

We will bring back the results of this meeting to the next session of the World Heritage Committee, which will be held in Quebec, Canada, in July 2008.

Let me thank you again for all your efforts and I count on your collaboration in the future safeguarding efforts of arctic heritage.

Thank you very much.