The Consultative Meeting on World Heritage and Sustainable Development, held in Ouro Preto, Brazil from 5 to 8 February, was a contribution to the celebration the 40th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention. In the first session, all speakers stressed the need to redefine the paradigm of this important topic in the face of growing inequalities and global challenges.
This first session was aimed at informing the participants on its context and scope of work, and establishing a baseline of agreed definitions and terminology - notably on the relation between sustainable development, heritage and conservation. The Second Session moved to explore possible ways to mainstream a sustainable development perspective into the processes of the World Heritage Convention. Presentations were made by representatives of the Chico Mendez Institute, Mr Romulo José Fernandes Mello, and of the Inter-American Development Bank, Mr. Vicente Sibilis. They illustrated through concrete examples the policies of their respective organizations to foster benefits to local communities through large-scale initiatives for the safeguarding of natural heritage and historic towns.
Eventually, the meeting ended in profitable conclusions for the relation of the World Heritage and sustainable development in the future, by mentioning the need for a policy on sustainable development, the Overarching principles that should guide a policy to integrate a sustainable development perspective within the World Heritage Convention and the Guidance related to specific processes of the 1972 Convention.