A World Heritage partners’ event and panel discussion took place on 2nd July hosted by the German Television Deutsche Welle in Bonn, on the occasion of the 39th session of the World Heritage Committee.
The Partners' event, following a successful first edition in Doha in 2015, provided a platform for discussing private sector partners’ contributions to World Heritage conservation and promotion activities. It allowed partners to share experience and best practices with other partners, as well as meet Committee members and representatives of countries’ heritage authorities attending the session.
Recognizing the increasing importance of involving the private sector in preservation of World Heritage sites, the panel session was an opportunity to present models for successful partnerships in support of World Heritage, reach out to companies and explore new opportunities of cooperation.
Presentations were given by Mr Takayuki Aikawa, General Manager, Corporate Advertising and Sponsorship Group at Panasonic, who gave an overview of the numerous activities carried out in the last four years since the beginning of the partnership between UNESCO and Panasonic to raise awareness and to educate young people.
Ms Anouk von Hochmeister, press spokesperson for Kaercher (Germany), the world's leading provider of cleaning technology, presented how, with its cultural sponsorship program, the family-owned company has been providing free heritage-sensitive cleanings to over 100 monuments worldwide in the last 35 years, including a number of World Heritage sites.
Mr Michael Firnhaber, responsible for Strategic Partner Development at Google Germany, presented the latest opportunities in the digital world offered by the Google Cultural Institute by bringing together millions of artefacts, heritage sites and their stories in a kind of virtual museum.
Ms Vera Weber, president of the Fondation Franz Weber, presented the work of the Swiss environmental organization with four decades of experience in the protection of endangered fauna and now partner for the preservation of natural World Heritage sites, in Africa in particular.
Mr John Delaney, Senior Vice President of Seabourn, the world’s leading small ship cruise line, a partner supporting the World Heritage Sustainable Tourism Programme, presented a new initiative with OurPlace, another World Heritage partner, represented by its Executive Director, Geoff Steven, to sensitize deeper appreciation and understanding of the many World Heritage sites among Selbourne’s destinations.
An animated debate followed the panel presentation with discussions centred on how the private sector could be more involved in the support and awareness raising of African World Heritage sites. The importance of new communication technologies allowing people to have deeper insight and understanding of outstanding sites otherwise difficult to access also raised considerable interest.