On the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the ‘Association of World Heritage Cities of Spain’, celebrated in the city of Avila on 17 September, the World Heritage Centre was awarded Spain’s first ever ‘Patrimonio’ prize for its ‘exemplary efforts in safeguarding the world’s cultural and natural heritage.’
Her Majesty Infanta Cristina presented the award to World Heritage Centre Director Francesco Bandarin at the San Francisco auditorium in Avila, in the presence of the mayors of 13 Spanish World Heritage cities and the President of the Castilla-Leon Regional Government.
Avila is now the home of the new Center of the Association of World Heritage Cities of Spain. The city has donated the recently restored and renovated sixteenth century Verdugo Palace to the Association as the permanent headquarters of its secretariat.
Verdugo Palace will house a research, documentation and management center and will ensure the coordination of conservation policies of the 13 World Heritage cities. The center will also provide training opportunities to staff and offer technical assistance to other World Heritage cities.
According to Mr Bandarin, ‘the Association of World Heritage Cities of Spain is an effective model of coordination of urban conservation policies that could be used by many other countries’.