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2nd International Workshop on Disaster Risk Reduction to Cultural Heritage

14-17 November 2009

A second International Workshop on "Disaster Risk Reduction to Cultural Heritage" was held at Acre, Israel, from 14 to 17 November 2009, and organised jointly by the Israel National Commission for UNESCO, the Israel Antiquities Authority and the World Heritage Centre, gathering experts and managers of World Heritage cultural properties from all regions, as well as representatives of ICOMOS, ICCROM and ICOM. This Workshop aimed to further develop the initiative on Disaster Risk Reduction, identify concrete opportunities for cooperation among World Heritage properties and define specific actions that each of the actors of the World Heritage Convention might implement (see the recommendations of the Acre Workshop).

The Acre Workshop built on the results of the Olympia meeting of 2008 and other strategic policy documents on subjects related to DRR, notably the Policy Document on the Impact of Climate Change on World Heritage Properties adopted by the General Assembly of the States Parties to the World Heritage Convention in 2007. With regard to Climate Change, the Acre Workshop clarified that, whereas not all the phenomena associated to it are relevant to DRR, some extreme weather events responsible for disasters appear to be linked to global warming as flash storms and flooding. Moreover, climate change impacts, such as rising water levels and moisture, constitute underlying risk factors that, in the presence of some primary hazards, may cause a disaster to happen or aggravate their consequences.

Following the Acre Workshop, representatives from several World Heritage properties expressed their interest in joining pilot initiatives to develop disaster risk reduction strategies at their sites, possibly through appropriate twinning arrangements and with support under the World Heritage Fund. The feasibility of these pilot projects - and the possible establishment of twinning agreements between sites - is currently being explored.

Recommendations of the Second International Workshop on Disaster Risk Reduction to Cultural Heritage Acre (Israel), 14-17 November 2009

The Acre Workshop resulted in a document containing a list of proposed specific actions, aimed at further implementing the Strategy for Risk Reduction at World Heritage Properties, adopted by the World Heritage Committee in 2007. This ‘Action Plan' is reproduced here below, structured according to the institution that would be responsible for implementation.

The World Heritage Centre, in consultation and close cooperation with the Advisory Bodies and other relevant organisations like ICOM, may:

  • Develop a concise position paper on the linkages between heritage and disaster risk reduction, and present it to the UN-ISDR Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in order to promote the integration of a concern for cultural and natural heritage as defined in the World Heritage Convention and other heritage categories such as movable properties, archives and documents, and intangible cultural heritage within global and national DRR policies;
  • Seek extra-budgetary funds in order to organise - at the earliest possible time - an expert workshop with the Advisory Bodies, interested States Parties and other partners, aimed to develop specific proposals to revise the Operational Guidelines so as to mainstream DRR more explicitly into its provisions, including format for nominations, periodic reporting, reactive monitoring, evaluation procedures for International Assistance and nominations. The expert workshop should also explore opportunities for establishing synergies with other UNESCO Conventions, notably with regard to movable and intangible heritage and the protection of cultural heritage in the event of armed conflict;
  • Develop, following the proposal contained in the Olympia Protocol, a feasibility study/proposal for the creation of a "World Heritage Disaster Risk Reduction Day", aimed at raising awareness of the issue among the public and strengthen the preparedness of agencies in charge of World Heritage properties. A Draft of the feasibility study/proposal would be presented to the Committee for consideration at its 35th Session (July 2011), in view of the possible adoption of the proposal by the 18th General Assembly of the States Parties to the 1972 Convention in the fall of 2011;
  • Facilitate, together with the States Parties, the development of twinning arrangements among World Heritage properties where pilot projects could be implemented to develop disaster risk reduction strategies, based on the principles and methodology presented in the Resource Manual on "How to Develop Disaster Risk Management Plans for World Heritage Properties";
  • Propose that the next UNESCO Forum - Universities and Heritage prioritize the debate on DRR and coordinate the necessary activities.

The Advisory Bodies may:

  • Ensure, in the framework of the evaluations of nominations for the inscription of properties on the World Heritage List, that a proper DRR component is integrated within their management plans or systems, developed based on the principles and methodology presented in the Resource Manual on "How to Develop Disaster Risk Management Plans for World Heritage Properties" (ICOMOS and IUCN);
  • Develop the methodology to implement the revised Operational Guidelines mainstreaming DDR as part of the nomination, evaluation and management of sites in the context of the World Heritage Convention (ICOMOS and IUCN).

If resources are made available, moreover, the Advisory Bodies, in cooperation with other relevant organisations like ICOM, may:

  • Develop, together with the World Heritage Centre, best-practice materials on DRR based on the above-mentioned pilot projects carried out at World Heritage properties in the framework of twinning agreements, to be disseminated to a wider audience of professionals and administrators;
  • Develop regional training courses on DRR based on the above-mentioned Resource Manual, including curricula and course materials, possibly to be organised in cooperation with World Heritage-related Category 2 Centres and University networks such as Forum UNESCO (ICCROM);
  • Develop a template for short handbooks targeting Civil Defence departments to raise their awareness of cultural heritage issues in Disaster Risk Reduction, which may be translated and adapted by States Parties according to their contexts (ICCROM);
  • Develop a Clearing House on Disaster Risk Reduction and World Heritage (ICCROM);
  • Develop a template for documenting impacts of disasters on cultural and natural heritage and integrating such data in response operations and recovery planning.

The States Parties to the Convention may:

  • Develop management plans and systems, which incorporate concern for disaster risk reduction;
  • Establish twinning arrangements among World Heritage properties where pilot projects could be implemented to develop disaster risk reduction strategies, based on the principles and methodology presented in the Resource Manual on Disaster Risk Management for World Heritage Properties;
  • Encourage and support greater research and DRR training and planning at Universities and institutions and prioritize national funding for these programmes.
  • Integrate movable and intangible heritage, archives, museums and libraries included in or related to World Heritage properties in their DDR planning and seek specifically scientific assistance to specialised international and national organisations such as ICOMOS, IUCN, ICOM, ICA and IFLA.
  • Develop, with support from the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, and if necessary with assistance under the WH Fund, ‘debriefing' reports on World Heritage properties hit by a disaster, highlighting the lessons learnt, for dissemination among the WH community;
Activities 1
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Keywords (text)

risk,risque,Disaster Risk Reduction


Saturday, 14 November 2009
Tuesday, 17 November 2009

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Acre, Israel