World Heritage Cities Programme November 2020

World Heritage Cities Programme

Urban Notebooks

Newsletter November 2020

Historic Town of Ouro Preto (Brazil);
Author: Ko Hon Chiu Vincent;
© Ko Hon Chiu Vincent 


     The 16th of November was the 48th Anniversary of the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (World Heritage Convention) that was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO in November 1972. This Convention is especially valuable because it regards heritage as both cultural and natural, and by doing so it reminds us of the ways that people interact with nature and the fundamental importance of preserving the balance between the two.

    The same year, the General Conference also adopted the Recommendation concerning the Protection, at National Level, of the Cultural and Natural Heritage (1972 Recommendation) that held up each item of cultural and natural heritage to be unique so that the disappearance of any one item would be a an irreversible impoverishment and also held that ‘cultural and natural heritage forms a harmonious whole, the components of which are indissociable’ (Recommendation text). These abstract and lofty ideals are important reminders of the larger objectives that we share – across the world. They give meaning to the daily struggle with conservation and management of heritage.

    The shifting emphasis on well-being in cities in the face of the on-going sanitary crisis is a critical reminder that cultural heritage and the natural environment form a ‘harmonious whole’ even in historic cities. A number of efforts to make cities ‘green’ have emerged in response to the pandemic and a variety of urban planning solutions are proffered. For example, Carlos Moreno, professor at the Sorbonne in Paris, has proposed the ‘ville du quart d’heur’ the ‘15-minute city,’ as a vision of a city where the living, working, shopping, healthcare, and education, are all accessible within a perimeter of 15 minutes. Historic cities, compact, walkable, with mixed-use, sociable streets, and public spaces, integrally linked to waterfronts, and urban greens, have long offered alternative, low carbon models for liveable cities. Historic cities have also been intricately connected to their hinterland for food production, providing essential ecosystem services to the city.

     According to UN-Habitat, over 90% of the total cases of COVID-19 have been in urban areas. Many cities had already adopted or had been considering urban farming, non-motorized transport, renewable energy, and nature-based solutions. A historical understanding of the relationship of cities and settlements with their wider landscape and region, from the perspective of the 2011 UNESCO Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape, could help integrate green and nature-based-solutions for urban response and recovery with heritage conservation strategies. This also reconfirms the tenets of the founding principles of the World Heritage Convention and the 1972 Recommendation that cultural and natural heritage are indissociable. 


Jyoti Hosagrahar
Deputy Director, World Heritage Centre

From UNESCO World Heritage Centre

Stone wall where the first lines of the UNESCO Constitution are engraved in ten languages

75 years ago, UNESCO's Constitution adopted

In the United Nations Charter which came into effect 16 November 1945, article 57 provided for the creation of a specialised agency in the fields of education and culture to be named United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. From 1 to 16 November 1945, a Conference to establish this Organization met in London and the Constitution of UNESCO is signed by 41 States. The Constitution will come into force on 4 November 1946 after ratification by 20 signatories.

Learn more  

Adoption of the World Heritage Convention in 1972 at UNESCO

48th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention, 16 November

The 16th of November marks the 48th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention. This Convention protects the world’s most outstanding places, belonging to us all.

The most significant feature of the 1972 World Heritage Convention is that it links together in a single document the concepts of nature conservation and the preservation of cultural properties. The Convention defines the kind of natural or cultural sites which can be considered for inscription on the World Heritage List. 

World Heritage sites are irreplaceable assets of humanity and belong to us all, but in order for us to ensure their protection, we must continue to fully implement the Convention for future generations to come. 

Learn more


14th extraordinary session of the World Heritage Committee

In light of the developments in the world related to pandemic COVID-19, it was decided that the 44th session of the World Heritage Committee, initially scheduled for 29 June - 9 July 2020 would be postponed to a later date.

At its 14th extraordinary session, held online on 2 November 2020, the World Heritage Committee decided to hold an extended 44th session in June/July 2021 in Fuzhou, China. The exact dates will be determined at a later stage.

Learn more

Periodic Reporting in Africa: Online Workshop on Data Analysis and Report Synthesis

More than 35 participants from the AWHF, WHC, Advisory Bodies and international heritage experts met online for three days starting from 28 October 2020 to discuss and work on the methodology for data analysis and synthesis, following the results of the Third Cycle of Periodic Reporting exercise in Africa. The meeting initiates the process to review the first draft regional report and to outline recommendations as well an initial Action Plan for the implementation of the 1972 Convention in the Africa Region.

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Sustainable Heritage Management Course Opening & Special Panel

Representatives from World Heritage Centre and Advisory bodies, including International Centre for the Study of Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) discussed the latest thinking and trends regarding sustainable heritage management.

This event kickstarted the inaugural Sustainable Heritage Management Foundation Course.

Learn more

2020 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation Jury Meeting

The UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation recognizes exemplary efforts by individuals and organizations to restore or conserve structures, places and properties of heritage value in the region. It encourages other property owners to undertake conservation projects within their communities, either independently or by seeking public-private partnerships.

With the 2020 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation cycle, UNESCO introduces the “Special Recognition for Sustainable Development” and an updated set of Awards criteria to acknowledge more prominently the role and contribution of cultural heritage to sustainable development within the broader framework of Agenda 2030.

Learn more

World Cities Day
UNESCO Cities Platform

UNESCO celebration of World Cities Day – 'Community-centred urban development: A paradigm of inclusive growth'

In the context of the celebration of the International World Cities Day, on 31 October, with the global theme ‘Valuing our communities and cities’, UNESCO in the framework of the UNESCO Cites Platform (UCP), organised an online event under the theme ‘Community-centred urban development: A paradigm of inclusive growth’. The event illustrated the organization’s full range of activities advocating people-centred approaches to urban development through its city networks and programmes.
By bringing together academia, public and private sectors, as well as civil society, this year’s celebration put under the spotlight the involvement and participation of communities and individuals in lead roles to develop immediate and local responses to COVID-19, as well as in the broader framework of building sustainable, resilient and future-proof cities. The event also aimed to illustrate how UNESCO’s intersectoral work with and for cities can support Member States, cities and other stakeholders around the world in furthering sustainable development through community-centred approaches.

Learn more
Watch the video

Medina of Sousse (Tunisia)
Author: Jean-Jacques Gelbart;
© Editions Gelbart

Online meeting: Strategic Urban Development Action Plan of the Union for the Mediterranean

On 29 October 2020, the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) secretariat presented the draft UfM Strategic Action Plan and its Housing Action Plan to the Euro-Mediterranean local and regional authorities.
The presentation was organized by Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) and the Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly (ARLEM). UNESCO World Heritage Centre is a knowledge partner for the initiative, first, recalling the numerous World Heritage properties in the Euro- Mediterranean region including more than 150 World Heritage cities where the Outstanding Universal Value must be protected for all humanity. Second, contributing to mainstream the protection of urban heritage by including the principles of the 2011 UNESCO Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape into the Action Plan that will serve as a guidance document for the 42 Member States of the UfM. And finally, sharing the methodology and approach of the UNESCO Culture|2030 Indicators to measure the role and contribution of culture to the 2030 Agenda at the urban level.

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Upcoming Events

15th Meeting of the Committee for the Protection of Cultural Heritage in the Event of Armed Conflict

The Committee for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict is composed of twelve States Parties elected for four years and meets once a year in ordinary session and in extra-ordinary sessions whenever it deems necessary. This year the meeting will be from 10 to 11 December 2020.

Learn more

The Intergovernmental Committee of the 2003 Convention to be held fully online, from 14 to 19 December 2020

After broad consultations, the Bureau of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage has decided to continue with the organization of the 15th session of the Committee from 14 to 19 December. However, for the first time the session will take place online due to the on-going global COVID-19 pandemic and related travel restrictions. 

Learn more

UNESCO/E-JUST Webinar on Heritage Science and Africa – Heritage, ICT and Digital Transformation in Africa

Within the framework of the UNESCO Priority Africa Programme, the third session of the UNESCO/E-JUST Webinar on 10 December 2020 will focus on Heritage, ICTs, and Digital Transformation in Africa. 

Learn more


City Focus

City Focus is a corner for the World Heritage Cities
to share their challenges and initiatives.
Share yours!

Stone Town of Zanzibar
(United Republic of Tanzania) Author: Ron Van Oers;


Stone Town of Zanzibar (United Republic of Tanzania) Author: Geoff Mason © OUR PLACE The World Heritage Collection 

Stone Town of Zanzibar (United Republic of Tanzania) Author: Geoff Mason © OUR PLACE The World Heritage Collection  


Stone Town of Zanzibar
(United Republic of Tanzania) Author: Ron Van Oers;


Stone Town of Zanzibar
(United Republic of Tanzania) Author: Ron Van Oers;


Stone Town of Zanzibar
(United Republic of Tanzania) Author: Ron Van Oers;

Sharing practice: Zanzibar Town

To bridge spatial and social divisions through inclusive planning 

Zanzibar Town is the capital of Zanzibar Islands, a historic international commercial port due to its strategic location between the Indian Ocean, the Arab region and the African continent. The historic centre of the capital includes two neighbourhoods called historic town (Stone Town) and the other side of the town (Ng’ambo), linked by a creek, which was filled at the beginning of 19th century. This reclaimed area was affected by many planning interventions and impositions. Some of these interventions introduced segregation proposals, especially during the early 20th century, when Stone Town was considered as a home to European and wealthy Indian, Arab and Swahili populations. In contrast, Ng’ambo was connoted as being an area of poor inhabitants, the majority of whom were decedent of slaves or African immigrants.

The Zanzibar Revolution of 1964 and its socialist ideology proposed a new planning philosophy which tried to remove the separation between Stone Town and Ng’ambo. The 1968 Master Plan by Hubert Scholz, a planner from East Germany, and the 1982 plan, by a Chinese planner did not consider the creek area as important element. With the degradation of the Stone Town in 1980s, a new planning and development effort was introduced in the historic town through urban conservation. For that objective, the 1995 Conservation Master Plan re-established the original division between the Stone Town, with heavily regulated guidelines for the “historic city”. Ng’ambo, which was considered as an outside area and not part of conservation processes, became a second zone. The division was continued and endorsed with the inscription of the "Stone Town of Zanzibar" on the World Heritage List in 2000, when Stone Town became the protected area and Ng’ambo the buffer zone. This binary understanding of the development of the historic centre of Zanzibar led to an unmanageable situation, especially regarding the key economic and logistic role of Stone Town, with only 20,000 inhabitants as per 2012 census, against the broader urban context of the Zanzibar Town, comprising 600,000 inhabitants. With time, the situation created a spatial and social divide between the two neighbourhoods of Zanzibar Town.  

The situation was addressed through a multi-level development and conservation plan initiated by the Department of Rural and Urban Planning in 2013, with the collaboration of partners like NGO African Architecture matters and the City of Amsterdam. The plan follows the 2011 Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape and conceives urban planning as a tool to create a balance between urban development and heritage conservation. The project included a large community-centred project called Ng’ambo Tuitakayo (“the Ng’ambo -buffer- we want”), which featured workshops, consultations and community events. In the consultation process, residents highlighted the need to protect and promote public and semi-public spaces like the traditional baraza in historic areas and, especially, new developments. At the same time, the project highlighted the residents’ negative perception of conservation as opposed to economic growth and spatial transformation in the buffer area, in the name of exclusive protection of the Stone Town.  

The project has created a dialogue through community engagement, linking citizens’ concerns with the benefits of a culture-led strategy and contributed to shifting local attitudes towards conservation and cultural heritage. It provided three main outcomes: 

  • The Zanzibar City Centre Local Area Plan, which promotes a people-centred public transport philosophy, by prioritising pedestrian streets and improving commercial and public areas. 
  • The Historic Urban Landscape Atlas of Ng’ambo, a publication which compiles the rich history and heritage of the Ng’ambo area by promoting its image and enhancing its heritage values. 
  • Michenzani Green Corridors project appraisal, an urban planning scheme that promotes the use of green corridors as public space and connecting elements to bridge the spatial and social divide.  

(contribution by Muhammad Juma, Chief of the Africa unit, UNESCO World Heritage Centre)

To learn more: 

  • Watch the presentation about this project by Muhammad Juma, Chief of the Africa Unit at UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre, during ICCROM’s webinar Towards Integrated Management of Historic Cities: Challenges and Opportunities in November 2020. 
  • Read the 2019 essay Side effects: foreign oppression and otherness in Ng’ambo, Zanzibar Town by Iga Perzyna and Muhammad Juma. 
  • Read the 2013 UNESCO Publication Swahili Historic Urban Landscapes. Report on the Historic Urban Landscape Workshops and Field Activities on the Swahili coast in East Africa 2011-2012
  • Browse through African Architecture Matters’ coverage of the project.  

Manharu Pavilion and pond;
Author: Seo Heun-kang;
© Baekje Historic Areas Nomination Office   


Daily Inspector Monitoring 1;
Author: Misol Do;
© Baekje World Heritage Centre   


Daily Inspector Monitoring 2;
Author: Misol Do;
© Baekje World Heritage Centre   


Baekje Historic Areas Monitoring Application 1;
© Baekje World Heritage Centre 


Baekje Historic Areas Monitoring Application 2;
© Baekje World Heritage Centre   


Sharing practice:
Baekje Historic Areas

Baekje Historic Areas” is a serial property composed of 8 archaeological sites dating from 475 to 660 CE, which belonged to the capital cities of the Baekje Kingdom in the south west of Korea. The different properties are surrounded by contemporary urban developments of mid-sized cities, such as the city of Gongju, which in some cases are part of the buffer zones of the archaeological sites.

Baekje World Heritage Centre was founded in 2012 and serves as an integrated management institution for the Baekje Historic Areas. The daily monitoring project is run and financed by Baekje World Heritage Centre. The project running cost is about 53,000 US dollar per year.

The monitoring system was first planned from December 2014 to December 2015. During the year, monitoring indicators, methods, and processes have been established to conserve and manage the property. Then, total six people (four women and two men), two local residents from each city, were chosen and trained as daily heritage inspectors during the first half of 2016. The training included the Outstanding Universal Value of the Baekje Historic Areas, World Heritage monitoring, monitoring indicators, stone and wood monitoring, and the use of the monitoring application.

This monitoring system operates with a tablet PC. The inspectors use the monitoring application developed and input their data with photos and the data is saved with the geographical information using GPS.

Since 2016 the inspectors have conducted monitoring on the Baekje Historic Areas daily. After checking the indicators, the monitoring results are sent to the local government for repair and maintenance. Baekje Historic Areas Daily Monitoring conducts in the world heritage property zone and is an ongoing project.

(contribution by Baekje World Heritage Centre) 


Reflections of an Expert

Claus-Peter Echter

Watch the video
Key priorities with regard to Urban Heritage

     The ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Historic Cities, Towns and Villages (CIVVIH) researches and promotes the understanding, protection, conservation, urban planning and management of historic cities, towns, villages and urban areas.

     The conservation of heritage in cities is a commitment to the historical layers of the city. The aim is to preserve the historical fabric and basic structure of the city and to illustrate the local historical dimensions in future urban development. The main task of urban heritage conservation is to research, protect, and maintain the architectural documents of the past that give a city its unmistakable identity.

There is a lot to be done in our field:

  • in the study and research on issues pertaining to the protection of heritage (abandonment, large works, tourism, sustainable development, climate change) in historic modern cities, villages, urban areas, and historical landscapes, 

  • in the development of the work of ICOMOS for the contribution of culture and heritage in the sustainable development of cities, villages and urban areas, 

  • in the study of the repercussions of climate change on urban heritage.  

     My vision is to contribute to developing solutions and taking action in cities and communities in implementing the New Urban Agenda to accelerate the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 with a particular emphasis on urban regeneration especially in the context of climate change. We all have to promote cities for all that are socially inclusive and participative; affordable, accessible and equitable; economically vibrant and inclusive; collectively managed and democratically governed, cities that are regenerative and resilient, have shared identities and sense of place.

     The COVID-19 pandemic is urging all cities to urgently respond to a global crisis that threatens not only the health of the population, but the economy, infrastructure and social cohesion of the human settlements. In some areas, the current health crisis has increased the pressure on local authorities to act. This is particularly true for the inner cities, whose functional change will be massively accelerated by the expected business closures. The pandemic also shows us, how important green and other open spaces are. Urban green and a newly conceived distribution of public space based on new concepts of mobility are indispensable.

     Considering the far-reaching impact of the pandemic, these urgent demands have to be addressed without panic. Rather, the pandemic could be seen as an opportunity for cooperation, solidarity and new impulse for sustainable development. Resilience in historic cities is an integrative process with the social, environmental and economic components meeting the challenges of social inclusion, the digital revolution and sustainable development.

     The CIVVIH Webinar “Resilience of Historic Cities in times of COVID-19“ was a successful exchange on practices and examples that went beyond theory to integrate or develop solutions to local economy issues with social and human dimensions in their heritage and cultural context.

     The approach of the UNESCO 2011 Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape helps to better integrate urban heritage conservation into strategies for resilient neighbourhoods, liveable cities, socio-economic development, and planning tools. There is a worldwide interest in this approach, which is endorsed by UNESCO. It is a helpful and appropriate tool for resilient historic cities.

Dr. Claus-Peter Echter
9 November 2020 

Publications of interest

Culture in Crisis:
Policy guide for a resilient Creative sector Graphic design and cover design: Corinne Hayworth;
© Victoria Villasana and Riccardo La Valle 

Culture in Crisis: Policy guide for a resilient creative sector

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) 2020 

The COVID-19 pandemic and the crisis it created have had a devastating effect on the cultural and creative industries, revealing and magnifying their pre-existing volatility. Drawing on policies and measures adopted during the crisis, this practical guide highlights emergency measures that have been deemed effective and beneficial, assesses emerging trends, identifies new and existing gaps and offers practical advice to help policymakers position the cultural and creative industries in social and economic recovery plans. 

Culture in Crisis offers advice on how to respond to the most pressing needs and how to induce the structural changes needed to strengthen the resilience of the cultural and creative industries and prepare for the “new normal”. 

Browse the publication

Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe (2020) Author:
© Images credits: © Shutterstock / Cultural Routes Associations / PREMS 056 820

Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe (2020)

Council of Europe 2020

Since the Santiago de Compostela Pilgrim Routes, the first cultural route certified in 1987, the Council of Europe’s Cultural Routes programme has so far identified 38 thematic routes with thousands of cultural sites and events in 60 countries, across Europe and beyond.

The publication "Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe 2020" presents all the routes, from the oldest ones to the most recent ones. It includes the Routes of Santiago de Compostela: Camino Francés and Routes of Northern Spain, listed as World Heritage in 1993, and several others, including other World Heritage sites, such as the route Destinations Le Corbusier: architectural promenades, the routes of El legado andalusí, the Réseau Art Nouveau Network and the Via Francigena, amongst others.  

Browse the publication

World Cities Report 2020: The Value of Sustainable Urbanization
© United Nations Human Settlements Programme, 2020

World Cities Report 2020: The Value of Sustainable Urbanization

United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) 2020

This interactive report seeks to demonstrate how sustainable urbanisation can and should contribute to the well-being of all citizens. The report, hosted on a dedicated website, contains interactive media content such as videos, images and additional reference material. It emphasises the importance of urban governance and strengthening local and national governments’ urban productive capacities, while providing succinct policy points, quick facts and examples which provide a thorough yet easily graspable understanding of the value of sustainable urbanisation.

Browse the publication

Our partners


ICCROM: Towards Integrated Management of Historic Cities-webinar

The webinar “Towards integrated management of historic cities: challenges and opportunities” took place on 5 November 2020. It was organised as part of ICCROM Lecture Series and is now available online.

The webinar counted with the participation of several high level experts, including the Chief of the Africa Unit of UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre. 

Learn more and watch the webinar
Other upcoming webinars by ICCROM 

IUCN World Conservation Congress postponed

France and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) had announced earlier this year to hold The IUCN World Conservation Congress in January 2021. However, given the current health situation associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the decision was made to postpone the event until further notice.

Learn more

ICOMOS: 20th General Assembly

The current health crisis had forced ICOMOS to cancel the GA2020 meeting originally planned to happen in Sydney in October 2020.
Nevertheless, ICOMOS agreed with the majority of the board members to still hold the General Assembly this year. Now the 20th ICOMOS General Assembly is less than a month away and it will take place virtually between 3 and 16 December through 3 online sessions. 

Learn more  

DomusForum 2020:
The Future of Cities

On 4 November 2020, Domus organised the DomusForum 2020 “The future of cities”. The conference brought together high-profile experts, international organizations, business leaders, government officials, and academics for a conversation on the challenges faced by cities, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The conference focused on a central question: “Will the concept of cities as we know them survive the era of the virus?”

The Deputy Director of the World Heritage Centre delivered a presentation in which she highlighted the potential of historic cities to serve as lessons and resources to achieve sustainable urban development. She noted that the current crisis is in addition to other ongoing global crisis including Climate Change and disasters linked to Climate Change related extreme weather events, as well as conflicts. These crises highlight the deficiencies of our current planning system that disregards, disrespects, or threatens the heritage value of the city. Hence, we need to create plans and processes that integrate heritage protection into the urban processes to make the cities resilient, sustainable and liveable. The Deputy Director proposed specific ways to achieve this goal by referring to tools developed by UNESCO, such as the 2011 Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape and the Culture|2030 Indicators.

Learn more

WHITRAP Seminar: Integrating Urban Heritage with Urban Development in Planning Processes in Asia

On 23-24 October 2020, WHITRAP Shanghai, UNESCO Category 2 Centre, hosted an online seminar on the Historic Urban Landscape approach – integrating urban heritage conservation with urban development in planning processes in Asia.

The two-day seminar focused on the 2011 UNESCO Historic Urban Landscape Recommendation (HUL) objective of integrating urban heritage conservation and urban development through planning and urban policies in an Asian context.

The Deputy Director of the World Heritage Centre delivered a lecture entitled “Managing Urban Heritage towards Sustainable Development”, in which she presented a variety of tools developed by UNESCO, including the Methodology for Implementing the HUL Recommendation developed in the Fukuoka Meeting earlier this year, and the Thematic Indicators for culture in the 2030 Agenda (Culture | 2030 Indicators).


AIVP Webinar: Protecting Cultural Heritage as a Resource for Sustainable Development of Port Cities

On 28 October, AIVP hosted an online webinar on the role of cultural heritage in the sustainable development of port cities. The debate was moderated by Ms. Carola Hein, Professor at the Delft University of Technology (Netherlands), and counted with the participation of the Deputy Director of the World Heritage Centre, and port officers from Dublin (Ireland) and Dubrovnik (Croatia).

Watch the recording 

Planet - The Role of Cultural Heritage in Building Environmental Resilience (SDGs 6, 7, 13, 14, 15) – webinar

On 20 November, the ICOMOS SDG Working Group presented its third webinar, accessible through Facebook Live. The webinar counted with the participation of Andrew Potts, coordinator of the ICOMOS Climate Change and Heritage Working Group; Christopher Underwood, President of the ICOMOS International Committee on Underwater Cultural Heritage; Nupur Prothi, Former Secretary-General of the ICOMOS ISC on Cultural Landscapes; and Mauro García Santa Cruz, Coordinator of Iniciativa Patrimonio y Cambio Climático.

Watch the recording (on Facebook)


Europa Nostra: 2020 Europe’s heritage award winners

On 10 November, the European Commission and Europa Nostra announced this year’s European Heritage award winners.

UNESCO Conventions and Heritage sites were represented during the ceremony, with two of the Grand Prix laureates, Tramontana Network III and the exhibition Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away, closely linked to World Heritage sites such as Auschwitz Birkenau and the implementation of the 1975 and 2003 Conventions.

Learn more
Awards’ website


Food and Cultural Heritage: an EU policy perspective

In the context of the “Terra Madre-Salone del Gusto” Food Festival, Europa Nostra and Slow Food International came together to have a panel discussion on 17 November, in which they explored the interrelation between food, agricultural, and cultural policies. During the event the policy brief “Food is Culture” was presented by Slow Food on the need for EU actions to protect intangible food heritage, along with concrete recommendations on how to better integrate agricultural and cultural strategies.

Watch the recording
Learn more about the event here
Read more about the “Food is Culture” project. 

ENCATC Research Award winner announced

As part of the Digital Congress ”Cultural management and policy in a post-digital world – navigating uncertainty” by the European Network on Cultural Policy and Management (ENACT), the winner of research award was announced on 11 November. Dr. Rocío Nogales won the ENACT Research Award on Cultural Policy and Management with her thesis ‘Social transformation and social innovation in the field of culture: The case of the SMart model and its adaptation across Europe’.

Learn more



The architectural competition for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the Al Nouri Complex in Mosul

UNESCO, in close coordination with the Ministry of Culture of Iraq and the Iraqi Sunni Endowment, with support from the United Arab Emirates, is administering an international design competition for selecting a winning design entry for the Reconstruction and Rehabilitation of the Al Nouri complex in Mosul. The international design competition for this project is starting 16th November 2020 and wishes to attract submissions from a wide range of architects or teams of architects and engineers from around the world to submit a design proposal for reconstructing and rehabilitating the Al Nouri complex.

Learn more
Register now!

Religious Cultural Heritage: Concepts and Issues in the Modern Middle East

Next month, on 11 and 18 December The Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilizations will offer the online course “Religious Cultural Heritage: Concepts and Issues in the Modern Middle East” (registration fee required). This introductory course highlights religious cultural heritage (RCH) in the middle East and tries at the same time to put into context RCH as the living cultural heritage of its community of users.

Learn more about the course structure

Note: The practices shared in Urban Notebooks are not assessed in any way by the World Heritage Centre or presented here as model practices nor do they represent complete solutions to heritage management problems. The views expressed by experts and Site Managers are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the World Heritage Centre. The practices and views shared here are included in Urban Notebooks as a way to provide insights and expand the dialogue on urban heritage with a view to further urban heritage management practice in general.


Room for thought

- How is COVID-19 changing urban heritage conservation and management approaches?

- How can we better integrate sustainable development with heritage conservation in our cities and settlements?

- How could we support colleagues though our international community?

Share your thoughts and concerns with us!
Send us your questions by email for discussion during City Dialogues

Guidelines for Contributions

Urban Notebooks is a way for World Heritage Cities to share up-to-date information, practices and opportunities around the world.

Please share with us your challenges and projects. Share with us the initiatives and activities related to culture in your city in response to the COVID-19. Please share opportunities as well. Your contributions will make the Urban Notebooks better.

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the City of Nanjing