World Heritage Cities Programme December 2020

World Heritage Cities Programme

Urban Notebooks

Newsletter December 2020

Old Town Lunenburg (Canada);
Author: Ko Hon Chiu Vincent
© Ko Hon Chiu Vincent  


Dear Readers,

     As this strange and difficult year draws to a close, we grieve for the loved ones lost and applaud the heroic dedication of frontline health-workers everywhere who have fought relentlessly. More than 1.6million people have died this year worldwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic and more than 71million people have been sickened from it. And these are just the official figures. Lives have been upended. More than 290 million students have had their education interrupted. However, we look forward to the new year with hope.

     Reflecting on the year that has passed, we have also learned some lessons from the trying period. First, we have learned of our own fortitude and capacity to adapt. We have been able to change our ways of working and living because it was a matter of survival. And in the face of all challenges, we have continued to work and deliver on our activities and projects as best as possible. Workshops, conservation work, World Heritage periodic reporting exercise and other activities have continued for the most part though in modified ways. This is an important lesson as it demonstrates that making changes which we assumed were impossible, is not, in fact, impossible-an important lesson for pedestrianizing streets or promoting non-motorized transport, for instance.

     Second, we have learned the power of digital technology to communicate across the world as well as to document, share, and collaborate through a variety of digital platforms. Many site managers of World Heritage cities have mentioned using the opportunity of the pause in tourism to carry out documentation and plans.. Many others made tourism and educational materials available online, most significantly carrying on instruction and training online, learning equally, the value of human interaction.  

     Third, we have also learned the power of local communities and global ones. People have reached out to support the neediest in their communities and rediscovered the value of looking out for each other and supporting local producers. Digital technologies have equally enabled us to reach across the world to share and exchange and form virtual communities of those who can support each other – such as the community of those dedicated to World Heritage cities and urban heritage. We have learned to value overcoming differences and fragmentation to reach across – across the street, across the town, or across the world. 

     Fourth, the importance of sustainable tourism was driven home by the impact of the sudden loss of tourism in many tourism destinations. The tourism industry that had been the single major source of income for many heritage places ceased to provide income with no other livelihood alternatives in place. Yet, the historic properties that had suffered from a constant rush of excessive tourism thrived, and local communities reclaimed the spaces they had forfeited to tourists. We have learned the importance of ensuring alternative local economic development with carefully managed sustainable tourism strategies that would contribute to regenerate historic places. Towards this end, UNESCO has set up a Tourism Task Force. 

     Finally, we have recognised the enduring value of history and urban heritage for well-being. Historic cities that have lived through centuries of wars, conquests, social and political turmoil, disease, and fires, and still survived have come down to us. These cities offer lessons in health and well-being not only as symbols of stability for having endured but also in their spatial planning and traditional management practices. Health cannot be relegated to the purview of doctors and hospitals alone; planning and management of the urban environment are central to it. Historic cities, where the built and natural features are intricately connected and with the traditions and practices of local communities, were often so designed to promote well-being.  

      Though the year has been painful, let us keep before us our accomplishments despite everything, and know that we can make the necessary changes to protect the urban environments we value so much, to promote well-being and to respond to the impacts of climate change that is urgently necessary. 

     2021 is the 10th anniversary of the UNESCO 2011 Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL Recommendation). It is also the 20th anniversary of the World Heritage Cities Programme. We invite all World Heritage cities as well as historic cities everywhere to develop activities throughout 2021 to raise awareness of the HUL Recommendation and strengthen its implementation. We invite all World Heritage cities to collaborate with the World Heritage Centre to contribute to and develop activities at the regional and global level. 

Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year! 


Jyoti Hosagrahar
Deputy Director, World Heritage Centre

From UNESCO World Heritage Centre

210th session of the Executive Board

The 210th session of the Executive Board takes place from 2 December 2020 to 27 January 2021. The Executive Board is elected by the General Conference and is one of the three constitutional organs of UNESCO. The Board examines the programme of work for the Organization and corresponding budget estimates submitted to it by the Director-General.
At the opening of the Organisation’s 210th Executive Board session, the very first to be held online in the history of UNESCO, the Director-General proposed four major strategic objectives to guide the Organisation’s new strategic direction.

Learn more

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

The Committee is composed of twelve States Parties to the Second Protocol to the Hague Convention of 1954 for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. The meeting took place on 10-11 December 2020, in a semi-attendance format.

Learn more

H.E. Ms Olivia Grange, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport of Jamaica, Chairperson of the 15th session of the Committee

Fifteenth session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage

The session took place online from 14 to 19 December 2020 with one three-hour session per day (1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Paris time).

The debates were transmitted live by webcast in their original language as well as their interpretation into English, French and Spanish.

The debates are also available online here and here

City of Quito (Ecuador)
© Ko Hon Chiu Vincent  

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, 25 November

In 2000, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a resolution officially designating 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

In doing so, the United Nations invited governments, international organisations as well as NGOs to join together and raise public awareness every year on that date. Twenty years on, the battle to prevent and eliminate violence against women and girls around the world remains a challenge worldwide.

World Heritage properties are also concerned, as any other human environment, by this important matter. On the occasion of this year’s edition of International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, UNESCO's World Heritage Centre would like to draw the attention of World Heritage communities and stakeholders everywhere, in all 194 State Parties to the World Heritage Convention, focal points and site managers, to the need for ensuring safe working conditions for all, free of gender-based violence.

Learn more 

The Africa region initiates a series of sub-regional online consultation workshops with site managers

The World Heritage Centre in collaboration with the five field offices in the African region (Abuja, Dakar, Harare, Nairobi and Yaoundé) and the African World Heritage Fund organised four online workshops, between 27 November and 3 December 2020, with site managers from each of the African sub-regions in order to share and discuss the preliminary outcomes of the Periodic Reporting questionnaire, submitted by the States Parties last July. The aim of these workshops was to bring the African site managers together to reflect on the Third Cycle of Periodic Reporting. They have succeeded by 100% in filling out and submitting their questionnaires under exceptional circumstances, having been directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic during the reporting exercise. The Director of the World Heritage Centre, Dr Mechtild Rössler during her opening speeches at the first and second workshop commended the efforts made by the site managers, which “demonstrate the determination and continued commitment of the African region's actors in the implementation of the World Heritage Convention, as well as the strong and fruitful synergies that exist between them”.

Learn more

UNESCO WHC, field offices and AWHF map future for World Heritage and Priority Africa in the region

On 18 November 2020, colleagues from UNESCO’s Africa Unit of the World Heritage Centre, Field Offices in the Africa region, as well as from the African World Heritage Fund met online for their periodic meeting concerning the progress of the implementation of the 1972 World Heritage Convention in Africa.

Learn more 

Samarra Archaeological City, Iraq
© Mahmoud Bendakir 

Online Meeting on World Heritage in Danger in the Arab States Region - Processes and Actions

On 23 November 2020, the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, in cooperation with the Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage, organised an online meeting on “World Heritage in Danger in the Arab States Region, Processes and Actions”.

The meeting aimed at providing an overview of the procedures related to the List of World Heritage in Danger, and at demonstrating how this listing contributes to responding effectively to threats facing World Heritage properties.

Learn more 

Old Town of Ghadamès, Libya; Author: Federica Leone;
© Federica Leone

Online technical meeting for Libyan properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger

On 25 November 2020, the World Heritage Centre held an 'Online technical meeting for Libyan properties on the List of the World Heritage in Danger' to support Libya in drafting the Desired State of Conservation and corrective measures for the eventual removal of Old Town of Ghadamès from the List of World Heritage in Danger.

The meeting built upon the outcomes of a first meeting that was held in March 2020 at the UNESCO Headquarters, in Paris. It aimed at continuing discussions and setting the groundwork for the elaboration of the Desired State of Conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger, and a programme for corrective measures with a timeframe for implementation.

Learn more

International scientific meeting on Heritage Impact Assessment;
© Fondation pour la sauvegarde du patrimoine culturel de Rabat

International scientific meeting on “Heritage Impact Assessment: A Tool for the Protection and Safeguarding of World Heritage”

The online meeting was organised on 26 November 2020 by the Foundation for the Safeguarding of the Cultural Heritage of Rabat, in partnership with the Ministry Of Youth Culture And Sports and UNESCO. It brought together high-level representatives from the Moroccan government and UNESCO, representatives of the Advisory Bodies, site managers and several leading experts from the private and public sectors and academia for a discussion on the role of Heritage Impact Assessments to ensure the preservation of the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage sites, and the need to integrate these studies into legislation, planning mechanisms, management plans and project evaluation prior to undertaking major interventions.
The Deputy Director of the World Heritage Centre delivered a keynote speech about the implementation of the 2011 Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape and its importance as a framework and tool for Heritage Impact Assessments in and around World Heritage properties.

Learn more


Kyiv: Saint-Sophia Cathedral and Related Monastic Buildings, Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra (Ukraine);
Author: Ko Hon Chiu Vincent;
© Ko Hon Chiu Vincent 

“World Heritage Sites: Sustainable Development Practices for Urban Heritage”

The International Conference “World Heritage Sites: Sustainable Development Practices for Urban Heritage”, was organised online by the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine, and the National Kyiv-Pechersk Historical and Cultural Preserve, with the collaboration the UNESCO World Heritage Centre on 10 December 2020 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the inscription of the World Heritage property “Kyiv: Saint-Sophia Cathedral and Related Monastic Buildings, Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra” on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The Conference addressed the contribution of World Heritage Cities to Sustainable Development in Europe through a series of high-level expert lectures and practical case studies focused on topics such as the Historic Urban Environment, Prosperity and Livelihoods, Knowledge and skills and Inclusion and Participation in line with the World Heritage Sustainable Development Policy.

Watch the conference

San Gimignano World Heritage List Anniversary 1990-2020

On 12 December the Municipality of San Gimignano, Italy, organised an online event to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the inscription of the “Historic Centre of San Gimignano” in the World Heritage List. The event included the participation of international experts and a video message by the Director of the World Heritage Centre. The event addressed three thematic blocks: “Culture, city and UNESCO”, with a lecture by the Deputy Director of the World Heritage Centre on “World Heritage City in Its Larger Territory”, “Tourism and UNESCO” and “Projects for San Gimignano.

Excellency Dr. Hang Peou, Director-General of the Authority for the Protection of the Site and Management of the Region of Angkor (APSARA) visited the Bayon Temple. 

Conservation efforts appreciated at UNESCO /Japanese Funds-in-Trust Project at Bayon Temple, Angkor World Heritage site

Excellency Dr. Hang Peou, Director-General of the Authority for the Protection of the Site and Management of the Region of Angkor (APSARA) visited the Bayon Temple to see the progress of conservation work at the site, undertaken with generous financial support of the Government of Japan through the UNESCO /Japanese Funds-in-Trust. The Bayon Temple is one of the most significant monuments within the Angkor complex and was constructed by the powerful King-builder “Jayavarman VII” in the 12th and 13th centuries.

Learn more

Pre-Conference “Water, Megacities and Global Change”

UNESCO's Division of Water Sciences, in partnership with ARCEAU-IdF, SIAAP and the Greater Paris Metropolis, organised the online pre-conference “Water, Megacities and Global Change” from 7 to 11 December 2020 to pave the way towards the Second International Conference “Water, Megacities and Global Change” scheduled to take place in December 2021 in UNESCO Headquarters.

Learn more

 © Faaris Adam

Somalia Develops a National Strategy for Culture

UNESCO joined forces with the Somalia Academy of Science and Arts (SOMASA) in collaboration with the Somali National Commission for UNESCO and the Somali Permanent Delegation to UNESCO to organise a national consultation meeting on 23 and 24 November 2020 with national and international experts and other key stakeholders in the culture sector in Somalia to develop a National Strategic Plan for the safeguarding and promotion of tangible and intangible cultural heritage in Somalia.

Learn more

UNESCO sets the agenda at the General Conference of the European Coalition of Cities against Racism (ECCAR)

The European Coalition of Cities against Racism (ECCAR) held its 2020 General Conference entitled “CommunicAction – A common front to protect human rights at the local level” on 19 and 20 November 2020, hosted by the City of Bologna (Italy), ECCAR’s lead city. The aim of the General Conference was to reflect on common approaches and actions that encourage inclusion and non-discrimination of disadvantaged communities in cities.

Learn more

© Guitar photographer/

World Heritage and tourism: Tackling the challenges of the COVID-19 Crisis

The 11th Seminar on World Heritage and Tourism: Tackling the challenges of the COVID-19 Crisis of the UNESCO Chair “Culture, Tourism, Development” Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University in collaboration with UNESCO World Heritage Centre took place on 14 December 2020.

Learn more


Upcoming Events

2021 is the 10th Anniversary of the UNESCO Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL Recommendation) and the 20th Anniversary of the World Heritage Cities Programme!


We invite all historic cities to make 2021 a year to celebrate urban heritage, integrate it into the plans for recovery and ‘building back better’ in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and advance its protection. We invite you to share with us the activities you plan to mark the anniversary of the HUL Recommendation in 2021. We invite World Heritage Cities to collaborate with the World Heritage Centre to develop regional or global activities and events for the anniversary year.

City Focus

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

Tactile map


Winners of a previous edition of the competition

Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments (Russian Federation)
Author: Ko Hon Chiu Vincent;

Sharing Practice: Saint Petersburg

The interregional festival called "Mission: Preserve" has been held annually in Saint Petersburg, since its launch in 2016. The project aims to bring the culture and history of Saint Petersburg, and especially the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments", closer to the attention of the youth.

“Mission: Preserve” was initiated as a competition involving several different schools in the region. Initially starting with only a few schools. However, the number of participants has increased every year. The format of the activity changed in 2019, and even though there is still a competition, “Mission: Preserve” has since become a festival with events and social activities dedicated to children, youngsters and university students from the Saint Petersburg and the Leningrad region. The activities are organised by the Committee for the State Preservation of Historical and cultural monuments and supported by the Government of the Leningrad Region, the Saint Petersburg Institute for Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (Academy of Arts) UNESCO Chairs and the Russian National Committee of the International Council of Museums (ICOM Russia).

By conveying the cultural value of urban space to young people, and being free for all to participate, the festival has a strong educational role. Its positive impact has reflected on the prevention and mitigation of vandalism on cultural objects. In addition to numerous educational activities, including excursions, workshops and visits to cultural sites, the project has also integrated a competition that gives young people the opportunity to showcase their innovative ideas on the protection and dissemination of heritage values. This provides young people with a chance to attract the attention of local authorities, who develop and implement them. The first phase of the competition is part of an application and selection process, which takes approximately five months. This phase is led and reviewed by a panel of experts. In the second phase, the winners are presented at a public event in one of the palaces of Saint Petersburg. The winning projects are then exhibited for several months.

Last year's winners were students from a school for the disabled. Their project was a tactile map for the blind and visually impaired. The 3D-printed model represented the main components of the World heritage site in Saint Petersburg; it was also standing on a table with the description written in Braille. 

Despite the pandemic, the festival was not cancelled this year. All activities, including the workshops, the selection process and the presentation of the finalists, are online.


(information shared by the Committee for the State preservation of cultural and historical monuments, Saint Petersburg)

Port, Fortresses and Group of Monuments, Cartagena
Author: Bruno Poppe;
© Bruno Poppe   


Port, Fortresses and Group of Monuments, Cartagena
Author: Bruno Poppe;
© Bruno Poppe   


Port, Fortresses and Group of Monuments, Cartagena
Author: Bruno Poppe;
© Bruno Poppe   


Sharing Practice: Field-based education and solutions in Cartagena

Students from the Stuart Weitzman School of Design of the University of Pennsylvania conducted a field research in the Colombian city of Cartagena de Indias in spring 2020 as part of a seminar-based course titled: “Urban Regeneration in the Americas: The Conservation and Development of Urban Heritage Areas”.
The exercise addressed urban conservation issues while integrating heritage conservation, city planning, urban design, and architecture. The aim was to develop new approaches to urban development in Cartagena that placed heritage as a major contributor to the social and economic development of its communities. 
The port city of Cartagena has a longstanding history as an economic centre. Its function as a trading hub dates back to its colonial period in the 16th century. Until today, trading has an important role in the city’s economy; however, the tourism sector is now just as important. The fact that the historic city centre became a national monument in the 1970s, combined with the inscription of the “Port, Fortresses and Group of Monuments, Cartagena” in the World Heritage List in 1984, catalysed tourist activities tremendously and eventually transformed into mass tourism over the years. Meanwhile, rapid urban development had a strong impact on heritage and the socio-economic function of the historic centre. The Central Government of the Municipality together with the private sector are now looking for solutions through public policy, planning, and urban design interventions towards sustainable management of heritage. 

Aiming at inspiring public efforts, this educational initiative made use of fieldwork and discussion seminars to come up with a comprehensive collection of complementary approaches and possible solutions addressing pressing issues in Cartagena. The project addressed conservation and development at 6 different layers, such as the accessibility and integration of the historic centre with the rest of the city; the displacement of the local population by mass tourism encouraged by the dominant “tourism-oriented” development narrative; the presence and contribution of afro-Colombian communities in the historic centre; the use of public spaces by mass tourism; the regulation of rapid change in the historic centre; and the opportunities offered by tactical interventions in addressing some of the issues. 

The final project report summarises the outcomes of the activity and aims at providing a strong reference framework to local authorities for integrated sustainable development. 

Read the report

(information shared by Eduardo Rojas, Lecturer, “Historic Preservation”, University of Pennsylvania)  

Polo del ‘900, Turin
Author: Enrico Muraro;
© Enrico Muraro, courtesy of Polo del ‘900, Torino  

Polo del ‘900, Turin
© Polo del ‘900, Torino    

Polo del ‘900, Turin
© Polo del ‘900, Torino    

Sharing practice: Polo del 900, Turin: Culture as a driver for social empowerment in an urban context

In 2016, the three main sponsors of the project, the City of Turin, the Piedmont Region and the Banking Foundation Compagnia di San Paolo, established the Public-Private Foundation called Polo del ‘900 with the idea to create a cultural centre for everyone. The foundation has its base in two big historic buildings dating from the 18th century with a total surface of over 8000m2 in the historic centre of Turin. The place has a multifunctional and multi-service vocation, with an innovative management model based on collaboration and the mutual exchange of ideas and skills between partners and the rest of the city, which goes beyond the physical space of the buildings. Various cultural institutions from Turin, including archives, libraries, cinema, performing arts and many more united under Polo del 900. Mr. Bollo, Director of the Polo del ‘900 described the way these institutions function inside the Polo del ’900 as a "collaboration as a solution to overcome fragmentation". Today 22 institutions are united in this new ecology of cultural systems.

The strong community-oriented approach of the Foundation emphasises its idea of openness towards everyone. Young people come mostly to use the learning facilities and free internet access; many others come to attend some of the 900 events which take place throughout the year. Like the 3-day culture festival, which is organised by an annually changing ‘Young Board’ consisting of a team of 40-50 young people.

In addition to the activities conducted in the premises of the Polo del ‘900, there is also the desire to bring culture to and create links with other parts of the city of Turin. The ‘Dirittibus’ project for example, which is expected to start running in 2021, will take the shape of an itinerant exhibition, which will make use of buses moving around and settling temporarily in different parts of the city to bring the cultural activities of the Foundation closer to peripheral neighbourhoods. The aim is also to integrate specific place-based activities and engage with local people addressing issues that affect their everyday life, i.e. gender, climate change or working rights, thus, creating cultural and functional links between the historical centre of Turin and the rest of the city. 

The director mentioned that the strong relationship between the city and the Polo del ’900 lies in a similar perception of the idea of “culture”, in the sense that “culture is not just entertainment, but a way of enriching people’s lives, creating civic culture and empowerment.”  

Facebook: @ilpolodel900
Instagram: ilpolodel900  

(information shared by Alessandro Bollo, Director of Polo del ‘900) 

(Turin, Italy, is not part of the World Heritage Cities Programme though it has several components of the serial property “Residences of the Royal House of Savoy”) 


Our partners

ICOMOS: 2020 Triennial General Assembly

The 2020 Triennial General Assembly of ICOMOS took place between 3-16 December. New Board Members were elected and the agenda for the following 3-year term was adopted. The selection for the President, Secretary General and Treasurer is confirmed as follows:

• President: Teresa Patricio (Belgium)
• Secretary General: Mario Santana Quintero (Canada)
• Treasurer: Pamela Jerome (USA)  

Access the agenda and working documents

Learn about the election results 

IUCN World Heritage Outlook 3 © Frans Lanting/ National Geographic Creative 

IUCN: Launch of IUCN World Heritage Outlook 3

The IUCN World Heritage Outlook 3 was launched on 02 December. The Outlook is IUCN’s independent assessment of the state of conservation of natural World Heritage. This important milestone was celebrated in a webinar held on 8 December, and which included the participation of Director of UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre.

Learn more about IUCN World Heritage Outlook 3 

Launch event

UNDDR: Africa Regional launch of the Making Cities Resilient 2030
© Tobias Fischer|UNSPLASH

UNDDR: Africa Regional launch of the Making Cities Resilient 2030 (MCR2030)

The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) launched the new Making Cities Resilient 2030 (MCR2030) campaign focusing on the African region on 1 December 2020.

The launch event highlighted examples of disaster risk reduction and resilience efforts undertaken by local governments to inspire other local governments to begin the resilience journey.  

Learn more and look for upcoming activities


Publications of interest

© UNESCO office in Montevideo

Water Security and Sustainable Development Goals - A Training Manual for Decision Makers


This publication emerged in the context of the course "Water Security and Sustainable Development Goals (WSSD)", an initiative of the Working Group on Water, Education and Culture of UNESCO's Intergovernmental Hydrological Programme in Latin America and the Caribbean (IHP-LAC). The aim of the publication is to provide learning opportunities and thus promote the development of capacities that are essential for achieving water security and the goals of sustainable development.

Launch event 15 December

Accessible Digital Documentary Heritage (2020)

Accessible digital documentary heritage: guidelines for the preparation of documentary heritage in accessible formats for persons with disabilities


Marking the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December 2020, UNESCO has released a new publication aiming at assisting stakeholders in the preparation of documentary heritage in accessible formats for persons with disabilities.
The publication, Accessible Digital Documentary Heritage, offers a set of guidelines for parties involved in the digitisation of heritage documents, including librarians, archivists, museums workers, curators, and other stakeholders in carefully planning digital platforms and contents with a view to making it accessible to people with disabilities.

Browse the publication

The Tracker © Felipefrazao, Getty Images Pro

The Tracker Issue 2


The monthly Tracker is produced by UNESCO to monitor the role of culture in public policy with regards to the UN Sustainable Development Agenda. The section, Culture in the 2030 Agenda, examines initiatives from Voluntary National Reviews that harness digital technologies in their cultural sectors, in heritage management, the expansion of access to culture, and cultural education.

Browse the second issue of the Tracker

An exhibition of the Penang Island nature-based climate adaptation programme (2020)

An exhibition of the Penang Island nature-based climate adaptation programme

City Council of Penang Island, the Department of Irrigation and Drainage, Think City and UN-Habitat, 2020.

Over the past two years, a nature-based climate adaptation programme has been developed for the urban areas of Penang Island, which includes the World Heritage city of George Town, part of the World Heritage site “Melaka and George Town, Historic Cities of the Straits of Malacca”. The exhibition presents key weather data, communicated clearly through graphs and mapping exercises, and includes several examples of climate action, such as the upgrading of Chowrasta Market, one of the oldest markets in Malaysia.

The exhibition provides a useful precedent for delivering public communication programmes of complex, climate adaptation strategies, and allows the community and stakeholders to review the material and provide feedback.  

Browse the online exhibition

Cultural Heritage In Action : A Catalogue Of Good Practices (2020)

Cultural Heritage In Action: A Catalogue Of Good Practices

EuroCities in partnership with KEA, ERRIN, Europa Nostra and the Architects Council of Europe, 2020

More than 60 projects from different European cities and regions are presented in the publication “Cultural Heritage In Action Catalogue of Good Practices” of the EU funded Cultural Heritage in Action Programme. The case studies include good practices from World Heritage Cities, such as Budapest, and historical areas in cities such as Leuven and Sintra. The projects aim to empower local and regional governments to strengthen their cultural heritage policies and activities in order to develop innovative solutions for the preservation of cultural heritage.

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 opened 16 November 2020 wishing 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!

TERRAFIBRA Global Award in Contemporary Earthen and Plant Fibre-based Architectures

This global award aims at promoting the aesthetic properties, the construction advantages and the environmental benefits of 40 buildings conceived and built with earth, plant fibres or both.
Promises made by governments to fight climate change call for a considerable reduction of the environmental footprint of existing and future constructions. This can be achieved through the use of earth and rapid growth plants; when combined, they drive down the exploitation of non-renewable materials and the energy consumption on the entire life cycle of buildings. Using bio-sourced and mineral resources can lead to the creation of many jobs and boost local economies. 
The objective of the TERRAFIBRA Award is to reward outstanding projects while praising the courage of clients who have selected bio-sourced and mineral materials, the creativity of designers and the know-how of craftsmen and contractors.

The TERRAFIBRA Award is open to new or renovated buildings, built on any continent, with a significant quantity of earth and/or plant fibres, and completed after January 2010.

Online applications are free of charge and should be submitted before 3 March 2021 on Application TERRAFIBRA Award. Rules are available here: Regulations TERRAFIBRA Award 2021

Call for proposals: Teaching with Living Heritage in Formal Education in Cambodia

UNESCO’s office in Phnom Penh is looking for an organisation or institution to develop a project to generate collective knowledge on the integration of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in Formal Education in Cambodia, and to further refine the methodologies already piloted, adapting it to the context of the country.

Deadline: 26 December 2020, midnight GMT+7

Learn more


Call for Proposals: IKI Small Grants

The BMU/GIZ has launched a call for small grants on adaptation to climate change as part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI). This is a "small grant" of 60,000 to 100,000 euros for projects in the following areas:

- Mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions
- Adapting to the effects of climate change - Conservation of natural carbon sinks / REDD
- Conservation of biodiversity

Deadline: 9 February 2021

Learn more

Medina of Tunis; Author: Jean-Jacques Gelbart; © Editions Gelbart

Call for Expressions of Interest: rehabilitation of historic centres in Tunisia

The Tunisian Ministry of Equipment, Housing and Infrastructure and the Ministry of Local Affairs and Environment have published a call for expressions of interest to select the municipalities that will benefit from the historic centre regeneration programme (PRCA). The European Investment Bank and the French Development Agency have agreed to provide €12 million to support the Tunisian government in its endeavour to protect and preserve the cultural heritage of Tunisian cities in Tunisia.

Learn more

Dublin, IE. Grafton Street; Author: Cmccullough CC-BY-SA-3.0

Call for applications: €1.5 million available for heritage-led regeneration of Irish towns in 2021

The Irish Heritage Council, with funding by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, has launched a new call for applications for the Historic Towns Initiative. The programe aims to provide support to historic towns to develop heritage-led regeneration, and provide funding for initiatives that address vacancy in town centres, propose the re-use of historic structures and can act as a demonstrator for future projects.

Deadline: 5 February 2021

Read more

Learn about the Historic Towns Initiative 


Call for Applications: Pilot Regional Course on Interpretative Planning at World Heritage Properties in Europe – WH-Interp 

Values, participation and sustainability are some of the buzzwords in contemporary heritage management discourse. In the context of World Heritage, how can these concepts be combined to improve the site experience of people? How can local communities and other stakeholders be meaningfully engaged in the management of World Heritage properties? To explore these questions, UNESCO, through its Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, is launching a pilot regional course on interpretative planning at World Heritage properties (WH-Interp).

Deadline: 31 January 2021

Learn more

Historic Centre of Naples
© Giancarlo Ferulano

Call for Abstracts: World Heritage and Design for Health

The XIX International Forum Le Vie dei Mercanti is calling for abstracts on the topic World Heritage and Design for Health, for the international conference to be held in Naples and Capri (Italy), between the 17 and 19 June 2021. The conference is chaired by the UNESCO Chair on Landscape, Cultural Heritage and Territorial Governance - Benecon University.

Deadline: 18 January 2021

Learn more (in Italian)

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.

The cases shared in Urban Notebooks address heritage protection practices in World Heritage sites and beyond. Practices and examples showcased in the newsletter do not entail any recognition of inclusion in UNESCO’s World Heritage List or any of its thematic programmes. 

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 Team of the World Heritage Cities Programme
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the City of Nanjing