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Kumari Selja Inaugurates Consultative workshop on UNESCO Category-II Centre for World Heritage

New Delhi: September 28,2012

The Union Culture and HUPA Minister Kumari Selja has said that there is an increasing need to create enhanced sensitivity and capacity building at local, national and global levels for World Heritage and Sustainable Development. Inaugurating a consultative workshop on UNESCO Category-II Centre for World Heritage here today she said, the target audiences should include governments, non-governmental agencies, civil society members and other parastatals for maintaining heritage properties. She said, professional training and capacity building, awareness-raising among local populations and stakeholders are among the very important and immediate steps to be taken. It is equally important to impart World Heritage education targeted towards the youth and local populations and this is a key area where we need to work together.

The Minister said, in recent years, most Asian countries have accelerated the introduction of new laws on heritage protection which seeks to critically and comprehensively address the many aspects of heritage conservation. She said, in this context, India has recently taken an important step by reinforcing the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites & Remains Act (AMASRA, 2010), for protection of the National Monuments and World Heritage Properties under the ASI. A new National Monuments Authority has been created with the aim of defining a new paradigm for urban planning. A heritage sensitive perspective is being built in as a mandatory factor in development of spaces around heritage monuments.

Kumari Selja said, India being a member on the World Heritage Committee, has an increasing responsibility towards implementation of the World Heritage Convention. She said, India aims to take a lead and facilitate training and capacity building activities in the region. She said that the establishment of this Category-II Centre in India will facilitate development of competencies in training, research and partnerships.

The Minister said, the World Heritage aspects for India are now guided by a specially created Advisory Committee on World Heritage matters under the Ministry of Culture. This Committee, comprising of experts drawn from the fields of natural heritage, conservation, urban planning, risk analysis, tourism promotion etc., has already initiated the task of revision of Indias Tentative List through an extensive process of consultation.

The two-day consultative workshop has been organised jointly by the Archaeological Survey of India, Ministry of Culture, India and the Wildlife Institute of India, Ministry of Environment and Forest, India. Besides senior officials of the Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Environment and Forest, ASI, Wildlife Institute of India, Members of the Indian Advisory Committee on World Heritage, the workshop has participation of UNESCO officials from World Heritage Centre, Paris, members of Advisory Bodies of UNESCO such as ICOMOS, ICCROM and IUCN, government officials from countries of Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh along with eminent Indian experts on World Heritage.

During the two days workshop, the participants will dwell upon the key issues and concerns regarding Conservation and Management of World Heritage Sites in Asia region. Some of the key issues identified as priority for this region that will be discussed in the workshop are: implementation of management plans forworldheritage sites, Disaster risk reduction and risk preparedness, Better regional cooperation, Community involvement, Regional gap analysis and thematic studies on Tentative Lists for World Heritage.

Several case studies of World Heritage Sites from India and participating countries will be presented and discussed. The advisory bodies and World Heritage Centre officials will dialogue with the participants on ways to resolve the key concerns in management of such sites through specific training modules that can be evolved for Category 2 Centre, an Institute with UNESCO recognition. The Category 2 Centre (C2C) proposed by India has been envisioned to be a centre of excellence for the conservation of natural and cultural heritage in Asia Pacific Region. It will perform a catalytic role in India and the countries in the Asia region by building the capacity of all those involved with World Heritage Sites (WHS) inscription, protection, conservation, monitoring and management. The scope of the proposed Centre will therefore be global, regional, and interregional to bring greater synergy to the conservation and management of World Heritage Sites in particular but also other heritage sites in general.

This workshop also presents few of the capacity building programmes on World Heritage undertaken by India as part of the 40th Anniversary of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention in 2012. These capacity building programmes steered by the Advisory Committee on World Heritage Matters (ACWHM) of India including thematic studies for Tentative List and site training programmes will form the basis of evolving specific modules for the proposed Category 2 Centre.

The second day workshop will specifically focus on the proposal for Category 2 Centre for Natural Heritage that has been initiated by MoEF with Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun as the proposed centre. Specific programmes and training modules for the same will be discussed in detail. Recommendations to be adopted for proposed Category 2 Centre will be presented. There will be simultaneous discussions on the proposed Cultural Category 2 Centre which will be initiated at a later stage by the Archaeological Survey of India. These Centres for Natural and Cultural Heritage is a much awaited initiative for capacity building of World Heritage in Asia Region and India has taken this leadership initiative since UNESCO recognizes the resource of Indian national institutions for such and initiative.


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