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Managing World Heritage sites for the next 50 years: Outcomes of the second online session of the 5th World Heritage Site Managers’ Forum

Wednesday, 5 July 2023 at 18:00
access_time 2 min read

The second online session of the 5th World Heritage Site Managers' Forum was successfully held on 4 July 2023, with active participation from UNESCO World Heritage site managers worldwide. Around 145 participants gathered for this session, resulting in a collaborative and informative gathering.

The first part of the session was led by UNESCO, which provided a comprehensive overview of the Governing Bodies, specifically the General Assembly and the World Heritage Committee.  As part of the Forum, participants will also be attending the in-person component in Riyadh (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) in September, and this overview, notably for the new World Heritage site managers, was very well received.

During the second part of this session, the resource persons from the Advisory Bodies to the World Heritage Committee (ICOMOS, IUCN and ICCROM) delivered presentations on essential aspects of World Heritage management systems versus management plans,  the importance of a heritage place-based approach and examined the fundamentals of World Heritage significance, attributes and values and lead discussions on Statement Outstanding Universal Value and trends in state of conservation reports, along with participants sharing their comments and questions in the chat, this made it a highly interactive session that further enriched the knowledge-sharing experience.

To gauge the major factors affecting UNESCO World Heritage sites, real-time feedback exercise was conducted, with most participants notably identifying climate change and urban development pressures as primary concerns.  This went in adequacy to the concerns of site managers who submitted before the Forum, the three challenges they are currently facing while managing UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Prior to the second session of the Forum, participants also shared  three notable achievements on their World Heritage properties since their inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List. During the session, discussions explored bigger questions, such as changes in national systems due to World Heritage and  the Periodic Reporting exercise.

Many site managers proactively volunteered to contribute in the preparation of the 5th World Heritage Site Managers' Forum statement which will be presented to the World Heritage Committee in Riyadh. The work on the statement will continue after the online sessions conclude on 13 July 2023, through August 2023.

The 5th World Heritage Site Managers’ Forum is an event, hosted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in conjunction with the extended 45th World Heritage Committee andis co-organized by UNESCO, the Ministry of Culture of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (represented by the National Committee for Education, Culture, and Science, and the Heritage Commission), and the ICCROM-IUCN World Heritage Leadership Programme.