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Natarajan Ishwaran

Oral Archives of the
World Heritage Convention

Natarajan Ishwaran studied animal ecology and zoology at the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka before obtaining a Ph.D. in Science and Wildlife Management from Michigan State University in the United States.

Following his arrival at UNESCO in 1986, he worked on the implementation of the natural component of the World Heritage Convention and other environmental initiatives such as the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme, Biosphere reserves and the International Geoscience Programme. He headed the Natural Heritage Section of the World Heritage Center from 1996 to 2004, before being appointed Director of the Division of Ecological Sciences and Earth Sciences of UNESCO. In 2012, he left this position to bring his expertise to the International Center on Space Technologies for Natural and Cultural Heritage in Beijing, China. Since 2013, he has been responsible for the Asia-Pacific region at ProNatura International.

Through his work, Natarajan Ishwaran encouraged the use of UNESCO-recognized sites, such as World Heritage properties, biosphere reserves and geoparks, to implement sustainable development practices around the world. He has published numerous scientific papers on the subject, including "From Conservation to Sustainable Development-A Case Study of the Angkor World Heritage Site, Cambodia", published in the Journal of Environmental Science and Engineering in 2016.

Interview with
Natarajan Ishwaran
24 November 2009, Paris, France

The following audio excerpts are from an interview with Natarajan Ishwaran by Christina Cameron and Mechtild Rössler the 24 November 2009 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. Through his extensive knowledge of UNESCO's major environmental initiatives, he highlights the natural aspect of the World Heritage Convention. He calls for greater recognition of the rich biodiversity in natural areas and stresses the importance of linking nature and culture.

    • 1. The World Heritage Convention
    • 1a. Involvement and participation of Natarajan Ishwaran in World Heritage
    • 1b. World Heritage List
    • 1c. Milestones in the evolution of the Convention
    • 1d. Failures and successes of the Convention
    • 2. World Heritage Committee
    • 3. Advisory bodies: IUCN
    • 4. Secretariat of UNESCO

Oral Archives of the
World Heritage Convention

Under the leadership of the Canada Research Chair on Built Heritage at the University of Montreal, an international team of researchers conducts interviews with pioneers of World Heritage to capture memories of important moments in the history of UNESCO Convention.

Launched in 2006, this initiative is part of the UNESCO History project that celebrated the 60th anniversary of the creation of UNESCO. The Oral Archives project records the precious witness of people closely associated with the creation and implementation of the Convention. Their recollections and views have greatly enriched the book by Christina Cameron and Mechtild Rössler, Many Voices, One Vision: The Early Years of the World Heritage Convention (Ashgate/Routledge, 2013).

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Keywords 1
Date Start: Tuesday, 24 November 2009
Date end: Tuesday, 24 November 2009