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Sites des hominidés fossiles d’Afrique du Sud

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Sites des hominidés fossiles d’Afrique du Sud, proposed by Afrique du Sud as a best practice, is interesting as a case study for the following aspects: detailed master plan, Environmental Management Framework, research, interpretation centre, special World Heritage site Trust, consultation mechanisms, creation of new job opportunities, World Heritage Convention Act.

The COH WHS is fortunate to enjoy high levels of political support and therefore budget allocations and operates within an environment that has clear legal protection mechanisms. Combined with this there are three other factors to which success can be attributed. Firstly, the COH WHS has been successful in protecting, preserving, interpreting and promoting the OUV of the Property primarily because an extensive master planning exercise was undertaken shortly after the listing of the site. The power of planning cannot be overemphasised.

The plan took two years to develop and involved extensive public participation. This detailed blueprint has allowed for progressive and planned implementation of strategic land use, roads and bulk infrastructure development, tourism infrastructure development and marketing, a clear framework for environmental decision making and environmental best practice and monitoring and evaluation. The watchword through the master planning exercise was "balance”. The vision from the master planning exercise remains relevant today "to achieve an acceptable balance in the World Heritage Site between the conservation of cultural and natural resources, access, education, and scientific research, the interests of those living and working in the area, and its use for the economic and social benefit of the population at large, within the framework of the World Heritage Convention."

Secondly the COH WHS has been successful at winning hearts and minds. The Property has always had a dedicated and passionate team who have been carefully and deliberately selected for their skill and commitment. The team has a diversified set of skills such as research, tourism development, environmental and conservation management, public participation, infrastructure planning and implementation, management of Public Private Partnerships, marketing, events and fund-raising. This team has been successful at lobbying and advocacy through a strong focus on delivery. The completion of two visitor centres only five years after being listed is a significant and visible achievement which speaks for itself. The Maropeng Visitor Centre is now an iconic destination. The COH WHS as an organisation also has exceptional internal management and documentation management systems.

Thirdly and most importantly, the COH WHS has demonstrated the value of building relationships and partnerships, it was clear that COH WHS team by itself would not be able to achieve all the goals set out in the master plan and from the outset there has been a deliberate strategy to create strategic relationships and partnerships to ensure that this site is protected for future generations of the world. Our partnerships with the University of the Witwatersrand, landowners, scientists, communities and other organs of State have required continued maintenance of relationships without which it would be impossible to do our work. It has been enormously valuable not to be directly responsible for managing scientific research on the site but to rather have the overall responsibility for development and management of the site.

While the systems that we have in place might not always be perfect our commitment to improvement keeps us motivated. In nutshell the messages that other sites can benefit from is 1) plan properly, 2) win hearts and minds 3) invest in your teams 4) invest in relationships with key stakeholders 5) strive for balance between conservation and social and economic benefits 6) delivery wins political support.

La reconnaissance de la meilleure pratique en gestion du patrimoine mondial

La Stratégie de renforcement des capacités du patrimoine mondial, adoptée par la Comité du patrimoine mondial en 2011, répond aux besoins identifiés d’une audience diversifiée et croissante pour le renforcement des capacités en matière de conservation du patrimoine mondial et d’activités de gestion. Le développement de matériels tels que les études de cas des meilleures pratiques et les outils de communication figurent parmi les activités prévues par la stratégie pour améliorer ces capacités.

Un exemple d’initiative innovante de renforcement des capacités est la Reconnaissance de la meilleure pratique en gestion du patrimoine mondial récemment accordée. Cette initiative, demandée par le Comité du patrimoine mondial et menée dans le cadre du 40è anniversaire de la Convention du patrimoine mondial en 2012, avait requis les candidatures de biens du patrimoine mondial ayant démontré des manières nouvelles et créatives dans la gestion de leurs sites. Vingt-trois candidatures furent reçues et évaluées par un comité de sélection international de 10 membres, comprenant les représentants des Organisations consultatives de la Convention : l’ICCROM, l’ICOMOS et l’UICN. La Ville historique de Vigan aux Philippines a été choisie comme représentante de la meilleure pratique avec des moyens relativement limités, une bonne intégration des communautés locales dans de nombreux aspects de la conservation durable et de la gestion du site, et avec une approche multi-facette intéressante de protection du site.

Les pratiques de gestion reconnues comme réussies et durables peuvent couvrir tous les aspects, depuis l’implication des populations locales dans la gestion du site, à la création des politiques innovantes et la régulation du tourisme. Certains sites impliquent les étudiants des écoles locales dans la gestion du site (Slovénie), forment des habitants au métier de guide touristique (Pérou) ou encore installent des filets en nylon pour protéger les villageois des tigres du Parc national des Sundarbans (Inde). Partager ces pratiques aide les autres sites à trouver des solutions qui fonctionnent.

Cette initiative incite les Etats parties et les gestionnaires de site à réfléchir sur leurs pratiques de gestion et à explorer des possibilités d’amélioration.