The Information Meeting of WHITR-AP UNESCO-Headquarters, Paris, 8th Apr, 2008
  PublishDate:2008-04-25  Hits:4223

Information Meeting in UNESCO Headquarters



After officially approved as a category II centre under the auspice of UNESCO in the 34th UNESCO General Conference, the World Heritage Training and Research Institute for the Asia and the Pacific Region (WHITR-AP) organized an information meeting at UNESCO Headquarters on 8th Apr 2008. The meeting was hosted by H.E. Mr. Zhang Xinsheng (Vice Minister of Education and Chairman of Chinese National Commission for UNESCO) with the presence of Mr. Bandarin (Director of WHC), Mr Kishore Rao (Deputy Director of WHC), Mr Ron Van Oers, Mr Giovanni Boccardi, Mr JINGFeng , Ms Joanna Sullivan, Mr Lodovico Folin-Calabi and Ms. Marielle Richon from various departments of WHC.

The representatives of state parties in the region are also present, including Japan, India, Iran, Indonesia, Pakistan, Kazakhstan etc. The meeting is greatly supported by the Permanent Delegation of China to UNESCO with the presence of Mr. Zhang Shuanggu and Mr. Su Xu. Representatives from WHITR-AP include Mr. Cai Mantang, Acting Director of the Secretariat, Prof. Wu Zhiqiang, Director of Shanghai sub-centre, Ms. Kong Ping, Unit Director, Prof. Xie Ninggao, Ms. Zhang Chenyu, representatives of Peking sub-centre, and Mr. Yang Hui, Deputy Director of Suzhou sub-centre.

Minister Zhang gave a brief introduction to the WHITR-AP and emphasized its main roles in practical training, well-defined research and distribution of information. He expressed the fully commitment of Chinese Government to this Institute and highlighted its function in the improvement of capacity-building and the implementation of World Heritage Convention through mobilizing the expertise and various resources in the region. He introduced the acting Director of the Secretariat, Dr CAI Mantang to the participants and briefed the operation of the Secretariat on the campus of Peking University in Beijing. He announced that the Ministry of Education of China would offer ten fellowships each year to professionals in world heritage within the framework of this Institute. He further announced that first meeting of the Governing Board would take place in Beijing from 29 to 30 May 2008.

Mr. Bandarin appreciated the efforts made by the Government of China for the establishment and operation of WHITR-AP as a contribution to enhance the UNESCO family in the field of heritage conservation. He strengthened the strong network of World Heritage conservation at global and regional scale, and emphasized the importance for the Institute to create partnerships and links with different public and private organizations. Mr. Bandarin pledged the cooperation and support of World Heritage centre to the development of WHTRI-AP by introducing the responsible staff from various development of World Heritage Centre to allow further contacts. He also committed himself as the representative of UNESCO to the first Governing Board meeting of WHTRI-AP, which will be held on 29-30 May, 2008 in Beijing.

Thereafter, Mr. Cai Mantang made a brief presentation on the organization and implementation of WHITR-AP and reported the recent progress on various activities and institutionalized scheme. The representatives of three sub-centers made short presentations on their respective working focus. It was followed by the comments from the three advisory bodies of UNESCO World Heritage Committee. Mr. Joseph King, on behalf of ICCROM congratulated the establishment of WHITR-AP and expressed high appreciation to the commitment of Chinese partners in various collaborations with ICCROM, such as the ongoing collaborative training program on ‘Management Planning for Cultural Heritage’ with shanghai sub-centre. He commented that the organization of three sub-centers in Peking, Shanghai and Suzhou is innovative, promising but challenging for implementation. Nevertheless, he stressed the importance of the strategic plan and integrated activities guided by the Governing Board. Mr. King also delivered the congratulations and similar concerns from IUCN. The representative of ICOMOS International also participated the meeting and expressed the willingness for future cooperation with WHTRI-AP.

In the discussion, the colleagues from the World Heritage Centre shared their experiences and information in relation to the development of WHTRI-AP and proposed potential subjects for future collaboration. Mr. Rao introduced the available institutions and organizations for natural heritage conservation and emphasized the method of networking, for instance, with Wildlife Institute of India (WII), an important regional centre for training and education in wildlife management and conservation (http://www.wii.gov.in/mission.htm).

The concept was enriched by the UNESCO-University network, organized by Ms. Richon and the Turin master program, coordinated by Mr Calabi. Mr Boccardi and Mr Jing proposed the capacity-building workshop in collaboration with WHTRI-AP, which is related to risk management and climate change. Mr. Oers introduced the Caribbean Capacity Building Program as a reference model for the future training and research activities in WHTRI-AP.
It was a very fruitful meeting to allow people engaged in the future development of WHTRI-AP to build up direct contact and sharing information. It helps to clarify the operational mechanism of WHITR-AP as a category II center under the auspice of UNESCO and create consolidated basis for further development in the Asia-Pacific region through networking and integrated resources.
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