Prior to the 39th session of the World Heritage Committee, a Young Experts Forum will be held from 18 to 29 June 2015 in the Upper Middle Rhine Valley World Heritage site and in Bonn, former capital of Germany. Young heritage experts from around the world from 20 to 30 years old will exchange ideas and provide input to the theme of this year’s Forum Towards a Sustainable Management of World Heritage Sites.
During the Forum, 33 participants, who already have knowledge or experience in the field of World Heritage gained from their studies or professions, will examine different aspects of sustainable management of World Heritage sites, and through workshops and discussions with heritage experts, develop their own initiatives for effective protection of World Heritage for the future. Visits to other German World Heritage sites guided by specialists will deepen the participants’ knowledge about World Heritage and sustainability. The young experts will perform practical hands-on work in the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, building their aptitudes in preserving and managing World Heritage sustainably. The World Heritage Youth Forum held in Qatar in 2014 included a model plenary debate of the World Heritage Committee. This year, the Young Experts Forum will also simulate a debate and further develop its format. The participants will get acquainted with the workings of the World Heritage Convention, using an adapted version of the Rules of Procedure of the World Heritage Committee meeting and by playing a role as delegate of an assigned country, reflect upon the topics discussed during the Forum from another perspective and learn about political interests and States Parties positions.
Based on these activities and multilateral discussions, the young experts shall prepare a declaration to be presented to the World Heritage Committee during the official Opening Ceremony of the session. Eventually, the young experts will join the delegation of their countries, at least for the first plenary day, to exchange ideas on World Heritage preservation.
Young World Heritage Experts for sustainable development
The international Forum triggers the unifying force of World Heritage – young experts experience outstanding sites that bring people together and which foster intercultural dialogue and solidarity between people, with respect for diversity. Beyond that, the participants gain experience valuable to their future careers in the field of World Heritage.
The interactive elements of the Forum allow the participants to benefit from the creativity, involvement and solidarity created through the protection of World Heritage. Heritage is attributed an important role in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the context of the post-2015 international development agenda. With the theme “Towards a Sustainable Management of World Heritage Sites“ the Young Experts Forum illustrates that culture contributes to sustainable development by encouraging young people, in part through intercultural dialogue, to have an impact in the field of World Heritage.
In order to make the format of a youth event within the framework of the World Heritage Committee Session more self-sustainable, the methods and results of the Young Experts Forum are going to be published, allowing future organizers to pick up ideas and enhance the format for other youth initiatives in the field of World Heritage.
The Young Experts Forum is organized by the German Commission for UNESCO – in cooperation with the Federal Foreign Office – and the State of Rhineland-Palatinate in cooperation with the NGO European Heritage Volunteers. The Forum is part of the World Heritage Education Programme of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and is financed by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany.
Please find more information about the Young Experts Forum and its application procedure for participants on www.39whcbonn2015.de/youngexpertsforum. Deadline for application is 23 March 2015.