The UNESCO World Heritage Centre, in cooperation with the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa, organized the international meeting, International Rock Art Archive Working Group, on 17 to 19 November 2010 at the Rock Art Research Institute, Johannesburg, South Africa. The meeting was jointly financed by the University of Witwatersrand and the Spanish Funds-in-Trust.
Twelve international experts from seven countries convened for discussions to consolidate strategies for the creation of a global repository of rock art sites on the World Heritage List and the Tentative List. The meeting included the participation of participants in the fields of archaeology, anthropology, ethnography and digital media, as well as representatives of international institutions and NGOs such as the Rock Art Research Institute (South Africa), The Swedish Heritage Board (Sweden), Fundação do Homem Americano (Brazil), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas de España (Spain), Centro Camuno di Studi Preistorici (Italy), and the African World Heritage Fund.
The meeting reinforced key priorities, and established the methodology of cooperation, metadata profile, thematic components, and short- and long-term objectives in anticipation for the launch of the Archive in 2011. The International Rock Art Archive will be hosted by the World Heritage Centre's web portal.
A priority of the archive is to provide a user-friendly platform of knowledge resource and exchange to States Parties, policy-makers, experts, institutions and site managers for the purposes of conservation, management, monitoring and comparative research and analysis for Rock Art sites inscribed on the List and on the Tentative List, as well as collaborating with States Parties in their commitment to protecting Rock Art heritage at national level. The first prototypes and case studies will be presented at the 35th session of the World Heritage Committee in June 2011 in Bahrain.