The 5th Annual Coordination Meeting of the UNESCO World Heritage related category 2 Institutes and Centres took place in Dehradun, India on 22 November 2016. The UNESCO Category 2 Centre (C2C) on Natural World Heritage Management and Training for Asia and the Pacific Region (NWHMT) at the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) hosted the meeting on its campus.
Four coordination meetings have taken place so far: in 2010 (Manama, Bahrain), 2012 (Milan, Italy), 2013 (Oslo, Norway) and 2014 (Shanghai, China). The objective of this year’s meeting was to build institutional capacity through a focus on international cooperation and to build synergies for effective natural heritage conservation.
Nineteen representatives from the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, Advisory Bodies, Regional Institutes and Universities, UNESCO Chairs and four category 2 centres participated in the meeting. Dr. V.B. Mathur, Director UNESCO C2C at WII, welcomed the participants and briefed them about the purpose of the 5th Annual Coordination Meeting and also gave an overview of the mandate and activities of the newly established C2C at WII. In her inaugural address, Dr. Mechtild Rossler, Director of UNESCO World Heritage Centre, welcomed the excellent cooperation and warmly thanked the Indian authorities for hosting the coordination meeting and the conference in Dehradun. The meeting allowed for in-depth debates on new and emerging topics, including cultural landscapes, mixed sites and sacred places.
She also called for enhanced support for the work of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre to assist States Parties, national authorities, and site managers and encouraged the C2Cs to strengthen cooperation in particular to allow for the implementation of the World Heritage sustainable development policy (2015) and the SDGs, as well as other key priorities for the years to come.
The meeting was organized in three technical sessions during which recommendations from previous C2C coordination meetings were reviewed; progress and activities of the category 2 centres and Institutes were shared and a road map for enhancing collaboration and cooperation amongst C2Cs was presented and discussed. A number of recommendations were made to strengthen cooperation, knowledge sharing, networking, capacity building and public awareness.
The UNESCO C2C at WII Monsoon bulletin was also launched during this meeting and is available on the following website link: http://www.wii.gov.in/UNESCO_C2C_Monsoon_Bulletin_2016.
The 5th Annual Coordination Meeting was followed by two Consultative Dialogues on “Kailash Sacred Landscape” and “Cultural Landscapes, Mixed and Transboundary Heritage Sites” on 23 November and 24 to 25 November 2016, respectively, with the participation of more than 100 representatives from UNESCO, IUCN, ICOMOS, INTACH and State Forest Departments and Universities. Topics discussed included sacred places, cultural landscapes, mixed and transboundary heritage sites, as well as sustainable development, tourism, and communities.