UNESCO Initiative on World Heritage properties of religious interest: first thematic meeting
Paris, France16-18 February 2016
The first thematic expert consultation meeting on sustainable management of the World Heritage properties of religious interest, focused on Mediterranean and South-Eastern Europe (2016), was held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris from 16 to 18 February 2016, thanks to the support of Bulgaria.Experts designated by the States Parties in the region (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Greece, Holy See, Israel, Italy, Montenegro, Serbia, Spain, Turkey) presented their case-studies in order to illustrate the main challenges in governance, management and use of World Heritage Sites of religious interest. The representatives of the religious communities living/managing/using World Heritage Sites were also invited to participate in the meeting and presented their examples of involving religious communities in the management and use of World Heritage Sites.
The main objective of this Expert Meeting was to contribute to the development, by the World Heritage Centre, in consultation with the Advisory Bodies, IUCN and ICOMOS, of the Thematic Paper proposing to States Parties general guidance regarding the management of their cultural and natural heritage of religious interest in compliance with the national specificities, as requested by the World Heritage Committee. The participants of the meeting were invited to discuss relevant issues during and to develop draft recommendations to be adopted at the closing session of this consultation meeting.
This meeting is hoped that will serve as a model for future regional consultations in support of UNESCO’s work to implement the World Heritage Committee Decisions on heritage of religious interest.Dr. Josep-Maria Mallarach, Steering Committee member SG CSVPA, who has been representing IUCN in the UNESCO Initiative for Sites of Religious Interest since 2011, actively participated into the meeting, as well as in their preparation since October 2015.