An exciting addition to the network of Nordic World Heritage sites saw the light of day on 23 September 2016 with the founding of the Nordic World Heritage Association.
The founding document was signed at the Thingvellir World Heritage Property (Iceland) and brought together representatives of the five Nordic countries (Finland, Sweden, Denmark, including Greenland, Iceland and Norway).
John A. Bryde, the first elected chair of the Association said the new grouping would work towards cooperation in conservation and preservation. ‘A central idea of the World Heritage Convention and the World Heritage list is that our common heritage can best be protected by the shared responsibility of all nations. Cooperation is one of the key factors to success. Today,’ he said, ‘the World Heritage list comprises 1,052 sites in 165 countries. 40 sites are situated in the Nordic countries where we already have established a long tradition of working together.’
The Nordic World Heritage sites have cooperated since 1995 to share their experiences in implementing the World Heritage Convention. The aim of this new Association is to contribute further to its implementation by promoting competence, capacity building and technical exchange.
The grouping will also increase and further cooperation with and support of local communities in all five Nordic countries. ‘We are very concerned that local communities be engaged in the work of the UNESCO World Heritage,’ Bryde said. ‘By having a joint organisation, we can achieve planned cooperation and build up common knowledge concerning the particular challenges that the individual sites will need to work with in the future’.