World Heritage Institute of Training and Research for the Asia and the Pacific Region (WHITR-AP)
The WHITR-AP is a non-profit organization specialized in the area of heritage conservation. Furthermore, as a category 2 institute under the auspices of UNESCO, it is the first one that established in the developing countries. It will be an autonomous institution at the service of Member States and Associate Members of UNESCO. The Institute's mission is to strengthen implementation of World Heritage Convention in the Asia and the Pacific region, by building the capacity of all those professionals and bodies involved with World Heritage site inscription, protection, conservation and management in the Asia and the Pacific region, through training, research, the dissemination of information and network building.
The main objectives of the Institute shall be:
- contributing to the achievement of a more balanced geographical distribution of training and research institutions and activities in the field of World Heritage conservation in the Asia and the Pacific region;
- increasing the balanced representation and distribution of Asia-Pacific properties on the World Heritage List;
- promoting better protection and management of the World Heritage properties in the Asia and the Pacific region;
- raising awareness of the World Heritage conservation among the general public and promoting the free flow of information to improve the visibility of World Heritage;
- fostering international collaboration with UNESCO and international and national bodies in other regions, by implementing cooperative projects in favour of World Heritage in the Asia and the Pacific region.
In support of these objectives, the main functions of the Institute shall be to:
- execute short-term and long-term education and training activities for site managers, educators and technicians in China and in the Asia and the Pacific region, for the conservation of both cultural and natural heritage, including those directed at the preparation of World Heritage nomination files, the conservation and management approaches for World Heritage properties, the monitoring, assessment and reporting of the state of conservation of World Heritage properties;
- undertake research on important regional and global World Heritage issues, and investigations of particular heritage resources in cooperation with relevant conservation training and research centres in the Asia and the Pacific region;
- hold regional and global scientific symposia, conferences and workshops in all areas relating to World Heritage;
- collect available information in order to set up a comprehensive database system for the conservation and management of World Heritage in the region;
- collect and disseminate relevant knowledge and information, and the outcomes of research and training activities in Asia-Pacific countries through the Internet and the publications;
- promote collaborative programmes in the areas of World Heritage conservation in the region and the exchange of conservation practitioners at the regional level in this context;
- encourage the development of a World Heritage site manager's regional network to exchange information, knowledge and experience;
- facilitate the introduction of disciplines relating to World Heritage conservation and other academic research activities in universities, colleges and research institutes in China and in the Asia and the Pacific region.