Workshop on ‘Impact Assessments for Sustainable Heritage Management’
Within the framework of International Assistance from the World Heritage Fund, UNESCO Office in Bangkok and the Heritage Department of Lao PDR are organizing from 10 to 12 November 2021, with the participation of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, an online workshop on ‘Impact Assessment for Sustainable Heritage Management’ for the Mekong cluster countries: Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam.
Given the increasing importance of assessing impacts of development projects on heritage sites, particularly World Heritage properties, this workshop is being organized to provide an introduction to assessing impacts on heritage. Participants tin the workshop include representatives from agencies responsible for cultural heritage and natural heritage, including World Heritage site managers, as well as agencies in charge of environmental protection, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and planning/infrastructure development.
In Lao PDR and other Mekong countries, cultural and natural heritage is identified as an important driver of sustainable development. The World Heritage properties in particular contribute significantly to national development, both in its economic as well as social dimensions.
Nevertheless, there are currently a number of planned development projects within and around World Heritage properties, which may have adverse effects on the environment and heritage, notably sites which have been recognized as World Heritage properties or are currently in the nomination process. The potential impacts of these proposed projects could possibly negatively impact the global significance of these sites. There are also concerns of impacts on associated communities, settings and ecosystems.
In line with the recently revised Guidance and Toolkit for Impact Assessments in a World Heritage Context and led by experts from the World Heritage Centre, ICCROM, IUCN and ICOMOS, the workshop is organized to support the Mekong cluster countries to follow-up on the World Heritage Committee decisions which recommend that the Heritage Impacts Assessment be carried out at various World Heritage properties. It is also part of the overall support to streamline heritage impact assessments in national systems.