On 24 June 2011, the World Heritage Marine Programme hosted a special evening event dedicated to the cause of conserving marine World Heritage sites. The event was part of the 35th Session of the World Heritage Committee which took place in Paris from 19-29 June 2011. The side event was organized with the financial support of the Government of Flanders.
All three major partners to the World Heritage Marine Programme, Jaeger-LeCoultre, International Herald Tribune and the Government of Flanders, reaffirmed their commitment to the future development of the World Heritage Marine Programme and its work to conserve the crown jewels of the ocean. During the event, the publication "Navigating the Future of Marine World Heritage" was launched.
The event included addresses by Mr. Nic Vandermarliere, Representative of the Flemish Government to France and UNESCO; Ms. Corinne Paget-Blanc, Communication Director of Jaeger-LeCoultre; Mr. Stephen Dunbar-Johnson, Publisher at International Herald Tribune; Mr. Tim Badman, Director, IUCN World Heritage Programme; Ms. Wendy Watson-Wright, Executive Secretary, UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission; and Mr. Kishore Rao, Director of the World Heritage Centre. The event also included an exhibit highlighting how the activities of the World Heritage Marine Programme support the 5 strategic objectives of the World Heritage Convention, e.g., Communication, Community, Conservation, Capacity building and Credibility.
Participants also celebrated the inscription of two new marine World Heritage sites, the Ningaloo Coast in Australia and the Ogasawara Islands in Japan. There are now 45 UNESCO World Heritage marine sites. The event was followed by a Flanders Beer reception, offered by the Government of Flanders