WHS Alumni Conference “World Heritage and Sustainable Development”, BTU Cottbus – June 16 -19, 2011
- Session 1 – Conservation and Managing Change
In order to understand the ways in which the process of ‘conservation’ of WHSs can contribute to sustainable development, this session will address questions such as: What does ‘conservation’ in the context of WHSs mean? Is it a way of freezing the place in time so as to retain its OUV forever or is it a means of ensuring that the OUV of such sites is adequately retained while also responding to the environmental, social and economic impacts caused by the changes occurring with time? assuming that change is inevitable, what are the acceptable limits of change for a particular site? In what manner can change, especially to built fabric, be managed sustainably at WHSs while respecting traditional conservation ethics and values? etc.
Session 2 – Climate Change
Climate change constitutes a major global challenge to sustainable development in the 21st century and is already showing a visible impact on world’s cultural and natural heritage. As communities have also changed their way of life, work and worship, the manner in which they use buildings, sites and landscapes (sometimes even abandoning their built heritage completely), it is gradually becoming evident that apart from physical threats, climate change will also have a great impact on social and cultural aspects of WHSs. Therefore, this session will address questions such as: How can the kind and level of change brought about by climate change in WHSs be determined? Which changes are critical to the future survival of the built, natural, social and cultural values of heritage sites – for example, if local communities have adapted their traditional lifestyle to keep up with climate change, what implications does it have for the natural and built (cultural) landscape, and vice-versa? Which threat mitigation and adaptation strategies can be adopted for conserving and managing WHSs sustainably in the face of climate change? etc.
Session 3 – Millennium Development Goals
Recognising that culture is a vehicle for economic development, contributes to environmental sustainability as well as social cohesion and stability, this session will attempt to answer the question: How can World Heritage Sites become a core asset in the achievement of MDGs, especially poverty alleviation, environmental sustainability and promotion of global partnership? To do so the discussion will touch upon the potential of WHSs in seeking local solutions to global agendas; prioritising people in development processes and outcomes; promoting social justice, equity and global ethics; ensuring economic growth without jeopardising human development; setting standards for making development strategies more socially and environmentally sustainable; and other related issues.