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Coffee Cultural Landscape of Colombia

Coffee Cultural Landscape of Colombia, proposed by Colombia as a best practice, is interesting as a case study for the following aspects: integration into Colombian Coffee Growers Federation Strategic Plan, innovative management practices, institutional network, inter-institutional cooperation agreement, research centre, heritage watchers programme, heritage volunteer network programme and education strategy.

Summary provided by State Party

The CCLC area is a large area, involving a number of complexities and the need to develop consensus among several stakeholders, coffee growers being the most important inhabitants of the region. The Coffee Cultural Landscape -CCLC has taken advantage of an institutional network created for more than eight decades by the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation. This network provides public goods and services to the majority of coffee growers in Colombia and an ideal public private cooperation umbrella to make the CCLC a sustainable property. This arrangement has created opportunities for social mobility, economic progress and democratic participation for more than 85.854 families of the world heritage site. Registered individuals participate in elections to nominate their representatives to the local and regional Coffee Growers Committees and the National Coffee Growers Congress. They also have access to research, development and knowledge transfer, product quality control, social investment in coffee-growing communities, brand and sales strategies to add value, purchase guarantee policy, soft loans and other financial services, among others.

Aligning the CCLC management plan to the FNC´s strategic plan was the first consensus arrived at. A detailed management plan with well defined indicators of progress is yet another management strategy to measure the effectiveness of the initiatives undertaken. From then on a number of joint initiatives were able to be financed, ranging from renovating coffee trees to biodiversity conservation, and making possible to add additional resources and initiatives to the CCLC’s initial management objectives. This public private partnership is able to leverage resources from international and other national sources to accomplish its desired objectives. On the communications side, the partnership has also made possible the creation of a visual identity that reinforces the property´s values, the ability to have coffee growers to actively participate in decisions on the regions priorities, aligning research and social initiatives to sustainability objectives. Radio and TV programs as well as printed materials and videos have also spread the CCLC value message of conservation and appreciation.

In addition, FNC’s extensionists and Cultural Heritage Watchers are now vocal supporters of the program, making possible for the different initiatives to be supported and appreciated by local communities. Innovative e-learning courses to the tourism industry underline the OUVs of the property, to make sure that a consistent message is delivered to visitors and locals alike. In sum, a major undertaking has been launched that involves a strong institutionality, consultation and socialization processes, education and funding has been launched with outstanding results in a few years of operation.

One-off Initiative for the recognition of best practices

The World Heritage Capacity Building Strategy, adopted by the World Heritage Committee in 2011, responds to the identified needs of a diverse and growing audience for capacity building for World Heritage conservation and management activities. Development of resource materials such as best practice case studies and communication tools are among the activities foreseen by the strategy to improve these capacities.

An example of an innovative capacity building initiative is the recently concluded Recognition of Best Practice in World Heritage Management. This initiative, requested by the World Heritage Committee and carried out within the framework of the 40th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention in 2012, solicited applications from World Heritage properties which had demonstrated new and creative ways of managing their sites. Twenty-three submissions were received and evaluated by a 10-member international selection committee which included the representatives of the Convention’s Advisory Bodies, ICCROM, ICOMOS and IUCN. The Historic Town of Vigan in the Philippines was chosen as a best practice achieved with relatively limited resources, a good integration of the local community in many aspects of the sustainable conservation and management of the property and with an interesting multi-faceted approach to the protection of the site.

Management practices recognized as being successful and sustainable can include everything from involving local people in site management, to creating innovative policies and regulating tourism. There are sites that include students from local schools in the management of the site (Slovenia), train local inhabitants as tour guides (Peru), or even put up nylon fences to protect villagers from straying tigers from the Sundarbans National Park (India). Sharing these practices helps other sites find solutions that work.

This initiative provides incentives for States Parties and site managers to reflect on their management practices and explore improvement possibilities.