Written by Nevena Djakovic
Written by Nevena Djakovic
Education about heritage is one of the most important tools for its preservation. When learning about different types of heritage, different ways of preservation, why something is called heritage, we learn about its value and importance. How does heritage site get on the World Heritage List, or on the List of World Heritage in Danger? How are declarations regarding heritage adopted and who decides on these questions? One of the best ways to learn about World Heritage Committee, which is the answer to previous questions, is simulation of its work – Model World Heritage Committee (Model WHC).
My first experience with the simulation of this particular Committee was during the Young Experts Forum 2015 in Germany. I was a part of few Model UN in the past and I am a member of the organizing team of Belgrade International Model United Nations (BIMUN) which helped me a lot for Model WHC, but there was still a lot to learn. Every Committee is different regarding topics, rules of procedure etc.
The topic of our Model WHC was preservation of the world heritage site in Fontania (country and the case were made up for the simulation). Main debate was whether to put the site on the List of World Heritage in Danger or not. This decision is very important for each site because it highly impacts future actions. Fonta Wildlife Reserve, natural world heritage site in question, was endangered by certain projects that would increase development of undeveloped country Fontania but would, at the same time, cause this site to lose its characteristics which constitute an outstanding universal value.
Delegations of 21 state parties together with advisory body IUCN and observer country Fontania participated in a daylong session with fruitful discussions. Thanks to many compromises made despite disagreements and sometimes very opposing views, Declaration was drafted and later agreed upon. Fonta Wildlife Reserve was not to be put on The List of World Heritage in danger yet but serious steps were to be taken for its preservation.
Regardless of the particular result of the debate the biggest value of this simulation was that all the participants, including myself, learned a lot about how World Heritage Committee functions and how it makes decisions. We followed the Rules of Procedure, diplomatic courtesy and acted in the spirit of Convention form 1972. Declaration we adopted that day helped us to prepare for writing our Declaration for the 39th Session of the Committee which followed few days after. We could also understand the Session itself better when we were invited to observe as Young Experts or members of our country’s Delegations.
Model World Heritage Committee is one of the most interesting and productive ways of learning about World Heritage and should therefore be encouraged and practiced among youth. Belgrade International Model United Nations (BIMUN) which will take place in Serbia in March 2016 will offer students around the world opportunity to participate in the Model World Heritage Committee, as one of the 6 possible Committees that would be simulated. Applications are open from October 1st 2015 and for more information please check the following website: http://www.bimun-unaserbia.org/. It will be a great chance for everyone interested in heritage to learn more and have an amazing experience.