Thursday, November 21, 2013

World Heritage Assembly suspended as delegates debate equitable representation

Proceedings of the 19th General Assembly of the UNESCO World Heritage committee at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France stalled and was suspended as delegates debated equitable representation and need for revision of the rules as regards compositon to the World Heritage Committee. The Assembly could not attract a forum as the majority of delgates assigned themselves to an informal working group set up to discuss revisions of the rules.
This arose from failure of any member of African groups to qualify for one of the 12 seats in the current rounds of elections to the Committee; and follows a similar situation involving Latin America and the Caribbean at the previous general assembly.
The situation actually points to the greater challenges facing the World Hritage Committee and UNESCO itself to transform and adapt to new global realities and the increasing demands for inclusivity and representation while upholding one ofthe principal pillars of what has become one of UNESCO's flagship programmes governed by the World Heritage Convention which has to date some 962 iscriptions
While the immediate attention is on the issue of equitable geographic and cultural representations, the need for more fundamental reforms to the 1972 World Heritage Convention as well as its other culture conventions related to Intangible, built and natural heritage to meet the dynmic and effervescent global realities as they relate to clture and which require creative and innovative ways of engagement ..... more