From 22 to 24 January 2015, UNESCO, in cooperation with the Vietnamese authorities, hosted a workshop on World Heritage and sustainable development at the Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex in Viet Nam.
The workshop responded to the request by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session in Saint Petersburg to develop a policy on the integration of sustainable development into the processes of the World Heritage Convention. The overall goal of such a policy would be to assist States Parties, practitioners, institutions, communities and networks, through appropriate guidance, to harness the potential of World Heritage properties, and heritage in general, to contribute to sustainable development, and ensure that their conservation and management strategies are appropriately aligned with broader sustainable development objectives.
The workshop in Trang An gathered 22 World Heritage experts, practitioners and site managers from all regions of the world who discussed and tested a first draft of this policy. The recently inscribed World Heritage site of Trang An provided the overall case study where the practical applicability of the proposed policy was put to test. The feedback and suggestions from the workshop in Viet Nam will be used to finalize the document for submission to the World Heritage Committee at its 39th Session in Bonn, Germany, in 2015.
The process leading to the development of a sustainable development policy reflects a general trend to make the World Heritage Convention more relevant to challenges of the 21st century, and to align itself with other multilateral environmental agreements. It is also part of the broader efforts by UNESCO to integrate culture into the UN’s Post 2015 sustainable development agenda, which is to be agreed in September this year.
The workshop was made possible thanks to financial support from the Vietnamese government.