The first World Heritage sites to participate in the Earthwatch "Business Skills for World Heritage" programme were selected today. A total of 9 site managers from Ujung Kulon National Park (Indonesia), Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (Philippines) and Kinabalu Park (Malaysia) will join two Earthwatch training professionals and three Shell company business planning experts on an 11-day training and field research course at the Danum Valley Field Station on the island of Borneo, in Sabah Malaysia in October this year. Participants will be expected to develop the outline of a business plan during their stay at Danum, and over the course of the following year they will receive on-going support from the Shell business planning experts as they implement their plans.
This five-year programme, funded by Shell and implemented by Earthwatch, an internationally recognized conservation and training organization, is based on the successful "Business Planning for Natural World Heritage Site Managers" pilot project previously carried out between Shell Foundation and the UNESCO World Heritage Centre.
"Over the course of 5 years, we expect that all natural World Heritage sites in South East Asia will have had the chance to participate in the training," said Marc Patry, the UNESCO World Heritage Centre focal point for the initiative. "It's a good opportunity to provide no-nonsense organizational management training to resource management professionals who may never have been exposed to it before," he added. A UNESCO representative will also be present at the training event, ensuring that the site representatives develop a better understanding of the management implications of World Heritage designation.
The training programme is an innovative approach to providing capacity building opportunities to World Heritage site managers through expert intermediaries.