The World Heritage Conference

The web site of the Institut Heritage Research has three opinions of the oddly titled (or translated) 40 Years World Heritage Conference: Popularizing the Safety of Cultural and Pure Heritage by Marie-Theres Albert and Birgitta Ringbeck (De Gruyter, 2015). Some excerpts from Klaus Hüfner’s overview:

The Conference for the Safety of Cultural and Pure Heritage (World Heritage Conference) was adopted by the Normal Convention of UNESCO in November 1972, however solely got here into pressure in 1975. The Conference, up to now ratified by 191 States, belongs no doubt to essentially the most profitable worldwide authorized paperwork; it enjoys an incredible recognition not solely in Germany but in addition worldwide.


The amount consists of seven chapters. The introductory Chapter 1 postulates the preservation of heritage as “an distinctive political, participatory and interdisciplinary act” (p. 2). It follows that it’s vital each within the nomination in addition to in measures for the preservation of cultural and pure websites that, “so far as doable, all teams of affected peoples on the native, nationwide or worldwide ranges” be concerned (p. three). This demand for vital and constructive participation runs like a pink thread via the person chapters. One other vital comment, on which following chapters go into depth, refers back to the Eurocentric predominance. The authors converse of a “evident imbalance” between the targets and the implementation of the Conference when one considers the variety of inscribed websites in Europe and North America in comparison with the remainder of the world (pp. 5-9). 


Chapter three discusses in additional element the evolution of the World Heritage Conference and the related perspective modifications over time, amongst which 4 phases are distinguished, which moved away from the preliminary strict, conservative interpretation in the direction of a popularization of World Heritage. Already within the first section (1978-1991) the imbalance between “Europe and the remainder of the world” (p. 60) may very well be seen in inscriptions, which, regardless of the rise within the complete variety of inscriptions within the following three phases up till 2013, nonetheless hovered round 50 p.c. In 1994, UNESCO lastly adopted a International Technique to cut back the geographical and cultural imbalances. It concerned the query of “how you can combine the visions of cultural variety as outlined within the Conference within the type of intercultural, non secular, genuine or social views of variety into the general side of heritage” (p. 84). However the imbalance continued, the shortage of monetary and human sources wanted to efficiently full the nomination course of being instructed as a key purpose (p. 93). 

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