A World Heritage partners event and panel discussion, sponsored by the Korean National Commission for UNESCO, took place on the 7th of July in Krakow on the occasion of the 41st session of the World Heritage Committee.
The Partners' event, for the fourth consecutive year, provided a platform for discussing private sector partners’ contributions to World Heritage conservation and promotion activities. Private sector companies, foundations and institutional partners shared experiences and best practices in World Heritage conservation and sustainable development.
Ms Mechtild Rössler, Director of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, underlined that “being effective requires robust investment: the World Heritage Convention cannot change the world on a budget of breadcrumbs.” She continued, “UNESCO has an established role to influence governments and to formulate and implement effective change for sustainable management. It is time to invest in one of the best tools available for the conservation of these outstanding sites.”
Mr Kim Kwangho, Secretary-General of the Korean National Commission for UNESCO, addressed the public and recalled his country’s innovative initiative for fundraising and partnership development in support of World Heritage: “I have seen through our development activities how partnerships built between the private sector and UNESCO can create new value for the donors, while benefitting our world as a whole. Private-sector organizations can fulfill their social responsibilities and polish their corporate image, and can also gain new ideas for their own business.”
Ms Vera Weber, President of the Fondation Franz Weber, one of Switzerland’s foundations most committed to heritage preservation, spoke out for endangered animals and the protection of their environment through activities led in cooperation with the UNESCO Rapid Response Facility mechanism across five countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia.
Mr Rafal Serafin, President of the Polish Environmental Partnership Foundation and an associate at the Partnership Brokers Association, recalled the role of multi-stakeholder partnerships in the revitalization of the historic centre of Krakow. Together with Mr Andrew Hallam, General-Secretary of ASPIRE, the Association of IT and Business Services companies in Krakow, they presented the potential and reality of multinational companies based in Poland. “World Heritage is a resource, and partnering for World Heritage is a real opportunity for unlocking innovation and resources,” said Mr Serafin.
Mr Guan Shaoqing, spokesperson for Daimler and Mercedes-Benz in China and responsible for communications and corporate social responsibility, presented the company’s ten-year partnership with UNESCO. Focused on seven World Heritage sites in China, the partnership has led to strengthened site conservation, more effective management and heightened public awareness of World Heritage in China.