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Learning & exchange workshop on ‘Post COVID-19 World Heritage Site Management: Integration of Conservation, Tourism and Local Livelihood Strategies at World Heritage sites’
On 22 June 2023, the UNESCO World Heritage Centre organized a Learning & exchange workshop on ‘Post COVID-19 World Heritage Site Management: Integration of Conservation, Tourism and Local Livelihood Strategies at World Heritage Sites,’ a project funded by the government of Japan through the UNESCO/Japanese Funds-in-Trust.

The workshop, opened by the Deputy Director of World Heritage, aimed to present examples of successful initiatives that designed innovative business/culture industry/tourism offers to support the livelihoods of local communities, and to start a reflection on the best possible approaches and replicable strategies that can be applied to the respective projects. To achieve this, two speakers presented successful initiatives of community involvement in the post-COVID-19 pandemic context and branding methods of local cultural values:

  • Dr Ang Ming Chee, the General Manager of the World Heritage property of George Town (Malaysia), and
  • Ms Sachiko Shindo, the company representative of Felissimo Cooperation (Japan).

This 3rd meeting since the launch of the project, also gathered three participating countries from Cabo Verde, Viet Nam and Honduras (it was decided not to resume the project in Sudan due to the current situation).

The meeting allowed to address the integration of conservation, sustainable tourism and local livelihood opportunities by bringing forward success stories, and discuss key steps for community engagement, how to create social impact with profitable, creative and socially significant projects, and how to engage small community members to use social media and promote their products despite small incomes. The next steps of the project will be to ensure the good implementation of the project by organising follow-up meetings with each project from each sub-region, while waiting to organise another session this Autumn with all the key actors.

Through a series of pilot cases at World Heritage properties in four regions of the world, this project is aimed at proposing replicable strategies and methodologies for integrating heritage preservation, livelihood improvement and building authentic partnerships between the site management authorities and local communities at World Heritage properties. The project’s expected outcomes also include enhanced digital presence to promote sustainable and locally sourced tourism offers following the Policy Document for the Integration of a Sustainable Development Perspective into the Processes of the World Heritage Convention (2015).

source: world heritage centre

The participating sites and countries are the following:

Objectives and Activities:

  • Identification of key local stakeholders (SMEs, cooperatives, communities);
  • New and locally valued business models for increasing livelihoods;
  • Development of digital tools;
  • Networking and partnership among regions and participating World Heritage properties;
  • Intra-regional knowledge sharing;
  • Capacity building;
  • Publication and dissemination of experience and outcomes of the project;
  • Building partnerships and development of networks between institutions and experts on the sub-regional and international level.
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