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Finland has taken the lead in applying the Enhancing our Heritage (EoH) management effectiveness assessment toolkit to cultural World Heritage sites. Finnish representatives participated in a World Heritage Nordic Foundation regional workshop on management planning for Nordic countries in 2009 in which the EoH toolkit had been presented. They were impressed by the toolkit's potential and decided to apply it upon their return in their efforts to establish systematic management planning processes there.
The EoH toolkit was developed over a six-year period with the close participation of natural WH site managers in three continents. The toolkit's purpose is to help World Heritage site managers carry out a more systematic assessment of their management processes, including planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. The assessments are expected to help improve management processes, resulting in greater effectiveness and sustainability of management efforts. Though increasingly applied within natural World Heritage sites worldwide (a current application is underway in Tanzania, partially financed by the World Heritage Fund), the toolkit is perceived as having been designed specifically for natural heritage sites while discouraging its use for cultural heritage sites. In fact, the toolkit aims to be adaptable to different needs, and is proving to be of use in cultural sites, as is being found in Finland.
Representatives from all six Finnish cultural World Heritage sites are currently being trained to use the toolkit in four sessions over the next few months. The training includes the development of a Finnish language version of the Toolkit. Participants report that the EoH toolkit is straightforward and easy to use. They indicated that though most concepts were new to them, they appreciated the focused, stepwise approach to management that the toolkit encourages. Site managers are expected to have developed management plans for their sites by early 2011.
The toolkit's natural heritage focus creates some additional challenges, and the increasing interest regarding its application to cultural World Heritage sites calls for a suitable cultural adaptation of the toolkit. The toolkit is currently available in English, French and Spanish.