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UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and the Minister of Culture of Brazil, João Luiz da Silva Ferreira today signed an agreement establishing a regional heritage management training centre in Rio de Janeiro. The new centre will help Portuguese and Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia to implement the the World Heritage Convention.

This is the sixth such centre to be established. The others are in Bahrain, China, México, Norway and South Africa.

The main focus of the new Centre will be training and dissemination of best practices in the field of heritage management. One of its first projects is to design an international training course in management of World Heritage properties, which will be launched in November 2010. It will also provide short-term courses on World Heritage for site managers and professionals.

The Centre is supported by Brazil's Instituo do Património Histórico e Artistico National (IPHAN), which is responsible for national public policy of the protection, conservation and management of cultural heritage, the Brazilian Ministries of Culture and External relations, and the Brazilian Cooperation Agency.