On 18 February 2016, the participants in the first Thematic Expert Consultation meeting on sustainable management of World Heritage properties of Religious Interest focused on South-Eastern and Mediterranean Europe successfully adopted the Conclusions and Recommendations of the meeting.
From 16 to 18 February 2016, thanks to the support of Bulgaria, a cycle of Regional Thematic Consultations on sustainable management of the World Heritage properties of religious interest was launched at UNESCO within the framework of the Initiative on Heritage of religious interest with a first Thematic Expert Consultation meeting focused on South-Eastern and Mediterranean Europe.
The meeting was attended by the States Parties’ representatives from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Greece, the Holy See, Israel, Italy, Malta, Montenegro, Portugal, the Russian Federation, Serbia, Spain and Turkey, the Permanent Observer Mission of the Sovereign Order of Malta, members of the World Heritage Centre/Advisory Bodies Steering Group on Heritage of Religious Interest, representatives of UNESCO Field Offices, United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), invited experts and researchers, and representative of religious communities.
The adopted conclusions and recommendations will contribute to the development, by the World Heritage Centre, in consultation with the Advisory Bodies, of a thematic paper proposing to States Parties general guidance regarding the management of their cultural and natural heritage of religious interest, as requested by the World Heritage Committee.
It is hoped that this first regional thematic consultation will be the first of many more come, and that the adopted conclusions and recommendations will provide useful guidance for ensuing consultations.
A report will be submitted to the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session (Istanbul, July 2016). A side-event is proposed to be organized by the World Heritage Centre during the Committee’s session.