New strategies for UNESCO World Heritage

Strengthening the sense of responsibility

Through training and creating value

eigenverantwortung

The UNESCO World Heritage Convention of 1972 and the World Heritage List have to date been predominantly successful. This will continue so long as all those involved in World Heritage effectively implement the so-called 5C’s strategy, adopted in 2007 and enlarging the Budapest Declaration of 2002. This involves enhancing the Credibility of the World Heritage List, ensuring the effective Conservation of the World Heritage sites, building Capacity by promoting education about World Heritage, bettering public awareness and support for World Heritage through Communication, and the advancement of local Communities through the implementation of the World Heritage Convention.

Between 2005 and 2012 as an employee of the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) I was responsible for UNESCO World Natural Heritage in Switzerland and actively promoted projects for the implementation of the 5C strategy.  During the phase when Switzerland was a candidate for election to the World Heritage Committee, I managed to secure the cooperation of three expert organizations specialized in World Heritage: The International Union for Conservation of Nature IUCN, the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property ICCROM and the International Council on Monuments and Sites ICOMOS. The goal was to develop a new Capacity building strategy for UNESCO World Heritage, with financial support from Switzerland. Incidentally, this also resulted in 2010 in a cooperation agreement between IUCN and ICCROM for the first time in 38 years. The new strategy was adopted by the World Heritage Committee in 2011.

On the basis of the foregoing, I established a training program between 2010 and 2013 which was financed by the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN). Dozens of new experts were trained in regional workshops in Africa, South America, Asia and the Arab States. The training enables them in their respective regions autonomously to evaluate nominations for the World Heritage list and to verify the State of conservation of World Heritage sites.

Tourism is the real motor for value creation in and around the UNESCO World Heritage sites (which now number almost one thousand) and yet, at the same time, if it is not carried out in a sustainable way it could also be the principal destroyer of value and of the inventory of unique heritage around the globe. Sustainability in tourism and related protective measures are therefore crucial if World Heritage sites are to retain their Outstanding Universal Value for future generations.

With the clear intention of promoting a new program for sustainable tourism and world heritage, I launched a demanding round of negotiations at the Meeting of the World Heritage Committee in Brasilia in 2010. The first two interim goals have been achieved: the development of the new program itself, financially supported by Switzerland, was launched in Brasilia and this, together with an action plan, was then adopted by the World Heritage Committee in St. Petersburg in 2012.  During the program preparation, I was able to champion my primary cause being the development of sustainable tourism at World Heritage sites and, in particular, the strengthening of personal responsibility and betterment of the local population. Now of course it is up to all those involved - the relevant State Parties, the tourism sector and the key-persons at the respective World Heritage sites - to pursue the agreed goals actively and effectively.

Are you embarking on a challenging task or project where you may have to :

  • define key concerns and related strategies,

  • communicate these to others and advocate them in negotiations, or

  • establish new alliances?

I would be happy to offer you my well-qualified support.

 

I look forward very much to an initial discussion.
We will define the milestones together.

Simply contact me here.

 

What people think of me

“The way he looks for creative solutions  - even in difficult negotiations with public authorities – leads to positive results. Conceptual thinking coupled with organisation and design skills are what make him stand out as a generalist with comprehensive experience in project management and team work.”

Enrico Bürgi, Head Division Landscape protection, Federal Office for the Environment, Berne, Switzerland. December 1996

 “He really understands how to approach and win over business partners and then to achieve consensual results using his excellent negotiating skills.”

Franz-Sepp Stulz, Head Division Nature and Landscape, Federal Office for the Environment FOEN, Berne, Switzerland. December 2010