World Heritage: linking cultural and biological diversity

Dr. Mechtild Rössler
UNESCO World Heritage Centre

World Heritage Convention Defines cultural and natural heritage including “sites: works of man or the combined works of nature and man”

World Heritage Convention •Links protection of natural and cultural heritage • Links tangible and intangible heritage • Links people and protected areas

World Heritage Convention Evolution of a concept… 1972 Convention with definition of natural /cultural heritage; 1992 integration of cultural landscapes;

2004 New Operational Guidelines …

Merging of the cultural and natural heritage criteria

World Heritage Convention and others 1992 new Convention on biological diversity 2003 new Convention on intangible Heritage Preparation of a new instrument on cultural diversity…..

World Heritage Convention
outstanding interaction between people and their environment

World Heritage Convention
Natural sacred sites recognized for their powerful spiritual values; living cultural landscapes

World Heritage Convention
Cultural sacred sites: taking into account people and their environment; Sacred and social dimensions;

World Heritage Convention
Recognition of the heritage of mobile people; nomadism

World Heritage Convention
Development of new concepts and linkages between existing sites

World Heritage Convention – case studies

World Heritage Convention
New dimensions of World Heritage serial sites in a thematic framework (Ruta Inca, Rift Valley, Alpine Arc, Pacific Islands…) exploring underrepresented themes, including scientific discoveries, routes, shared heritage among nations etc. such as ”Arctic/Polar Heritage”

World Heritage Convention
Unmatched opportunities: Recognition of traditional protection and management systems for cultural landscapes in 1992 and natural properties in 1998
East Rennell, Solomon Islands

World Heritage Convention Complexity of interaction between people and nature; Recognition of cultural diversity and biodiversity links; Benefits for people living in and around the sites;

New approaches….
“Biodiversity should be appreciated in terms of human diversity, since different cultures and people … confront and perceive biodiversity in different ways. This is due to their distinct heritage and experiences, which are translated into knowledge systems, cultural expressions and language, and which enrich and transform the environment, landscapes and especially biodiversity.” (Juan Mayr, Cultural Diversity and the Environment, Report 2003)

Agricultural Heritage Systems, evolved over millennia, are a global inheritance that should be preserved and allowed to evolve

FAO launched a new partnership programme: called “Conservation and Sustainable Management of Globally Important Ingenious Agricultural Heritage systems” GIAHS

Current project sites – proposals received by FAO

Asia and Pacific:
• • • • • • • • • • • Traditional upland systems, Yunnan, China Qanat (Karez, or Foggara) irrigation systems and home gardens, Iran Rice terraces and shifting cultivation, Ifugao, Philippines Transect of the Inka Road; terraces; qochas; waru-waru; Lake Titicaca Secondary centre of origin of potato, Chiloe Island, Chili Terra Preta system in Brazil Milpa System, Yucatan, Mexico Tapade cultivation system Fouta Djallon Highland, Guinea Traditional oases agro-ecosystems of Tunisia (forthcoming) Traditional agro-ecosystems in the Carpathian region of Slovakia Traditional Reindeer herding, Arctic region

Latin America:

Africa: Europe:

Conclusions and Recommendations :

• guidelines and case studies of excellence on conservation practices with nature/culture interactions; • enhancing new concepts in global heritage conservation;

Conclusions and Recommendations : • Supporting effective management and legal/traditional protection Mechanisms • Awareness of the interaction peopleenvironment • Re-interpretation of existing World Heritage properties

Exploring links to other Conventions
• CBD – Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2004 •Ramsar Convention (cultural values of wetlands)

Exploring links with other Programmes ….
• FAO - Globally Important Ingenious Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) project, jointly with ICCROM and IUCN • UNEP-UNESCO project linking cultural and biological diversity •Aichi World Expo in 2005 “The Wisdom of Nature”: Scientific Symposium organized by UNESCO

Where do we go from here? •Involvement of ICOMOS/IUCN? •Support from donors in exploring this interaction and in providing support for the safeguarding of these sites…. •Scientific support for specific studies needed (e.g. dynamic conservation approaches, world crops approach see Fowler 2003)

Thank you very much!

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