Medieval City of Rhodes

Medieval City of Rhodes, proposed by Greece as a best practice, is interesting as a case study for the following aspects: restoration prize, thematic tributes involving local people and tourism challenges.
Summary provided by State Party

Secret recipes do not exist. The success is based on hard, systematic work, perseverance, vision and open mind. The management of a city is not an object of only one person or a small group; definitely it is not something static, something that remains stable and unchangeable over time. Times change, conditions change and therefore cities are changing. Our task is to limit those losses which are related to the deterioration of the authenticity and integrity of the cultural object. We must also adapt to the demands of the times ensuring what is at stake: Maintaining the uniqueness of the cultural object that we are called upon to protect.

One-off Initiative for the recognition of best practices

The World Heritage Capacity Building Strategy, adopted by the World Heritage Committee in 2011, responds to the identified needs of a diverse and growing audience for capacity building for World Heritage conservation and management activities. Development of resource materials such as best practice case studies and communication tools are among the activities foreseen by the strategy to improve these capacities.

An example of an innovative capacity building initiative is the recently concluded Recognition of Best Practice in World Heritage Management. This initiative, requested by the World Heritage Committee and carried out within the framework of the 40th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention in 2012, solicited applications from World Heritage properties which had demonstrated new and creative ways of managing their sites. Twenty-three submissions were received and evaluated by a 10-member international selection committee which included the representatives of the Convention’s Advisory Bodies, ICCROM, ICOMOS and IUCN. The Historic Town of Vigan in the Philippines was chosen as a best practice achieved with relatively limited resources, a good integration of the local community in many aspects of the sustainable conservation and management of the property and with an interesting multi-faceted approach to the protection of the site.

Management practices recognized as being successful and sustainable can include everything from involving local people in site management, to creating innovative policies and regulating tourism. There are sites that include students from local schools in the management of the site (Slovenia), train local inhabitants as tour guides (Peru), or even put up nylon fences to protect villagers from straying tigers from the Sundarbans National Park (India). Sharing these practices helps other sites find solutions that work.

This initiative provides incentives for States Parties and site managers to reflect on their management practices and explore improvement possibilities.