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In recent years, the framework for training and research in the field of World Heritage has changed significantly. Among the factors that have contributed to these rapid changes, is the emerging of many new institutions now offering capacity building within the World Heritage context. In this regard, a major development was the establishment, in various regions of the world, of capacity building institutions that have been granted the status of "category 2 centres under the auspices of UNESCO"1, dealing specifically with World Heritage.
These organizations are not legally part of the Organization, but are associated with it through formal arrangements approved by the General Conference and are committed to engage in support of UNESCO's strategic programme objectives (in this case support for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention). They are funded directly by Member States where they are located, but their scope goes beyond the boundaries of their country. Some are regional in scope while others cover more than one region or are organized around a thematic issue. Many are involved in capacity building and research, while some are set up as foundations or funds to support activities carried out by other organizations.
Where are the Category 2 Centres related to World Heritage? What do they do?
The eight World Heritage related Category 2 Centres established so far are indicated below. Some of these Centres have set up their own web-site.
There is also a ninth Category 2 Centre which, is affiliated with the Sector of Natural Sciences of UNESCO but also relates to World Heritage. The centre is known as the International Centre on Space Technologies for Natural and Cultural Heritage and is hosted by the Centre of Earth Observation and Digital Earth (CEODE) in China. More information can be found on the UNESCO Natural Sciences webpage and below.
How do Category 2 Centres related to World Heritage coordinate with the World Heritage Centre and among them?
The Category 2 Centres related to World Heritage work under a very comprehensive strategic framework and in a coordinated manner. Their activities are expected to contribute to the World Heritage Strategy for Capacity Building as well as to the policies and programmes agreed by the governing bodies of the Convention, that is the General Assembly of the States Parties and the World Heritage Committee. They are in constant touch with the World Heritage Centre and take part in numerous initiatives and programmes related to World Heritage, notably in the process of the Periodic Reporting.
World Heritage Category 2 Centres also meet regularly among themselves to share their experiences and harmonize their activities. Three coordination meetings have taken place so far, in December 2010 (Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain), January 2012 (Milan, Italy) and March 2013 (Oslo, Norway).
1: For more information concerning Category 2 Centres in general, Institutes and Centres under the Auspices of UNESCO (Category 2).
2: Read the Decisions on Category 2 Centres taken by the General Assembly of States Parties to the Convention and by the World Heritage Committee.