Written by Hannah Roehlen
Sustainable development is the buzz word these days. What’s more, it is a concept we cannot ignore if we wish to provide a safe future to the next generation. In the context of these recent developments, our YHE board members Hannah Roehlen (Germany) and Ritika Khanna (India) were invited to represent the voices of young heritage experts throughout the Expert Workshop “World Heritage and Sustainable Development – From Policy to Action”, organized by the German Federal Agency of Nature Conservation (BfN), in cooperation with the Advisory Bodies IUCN, ICRROM and ICOMOS international.
During the 39th Session of the World Heritage Committee (WHC) in Bonn, the World Heritage Centre embraced the concept of sustainable development into the context of the World Heritage Convention, by adopting the “Policy to integrate a sustainable development perspective into the processes of the World Heritage Convention”. Within the policy the WHC calls States Parties torecognize and promote World Heritage sites' inherent potential to contribute to all dimensions of sustainable development by ensuring that their conservation and management strategies are aligned with broader sustainable development objectives.
While this is, without a doubt, a groundbreaking and most timely decision, it remains to be seen how the policy can be translated into "living tradition" through the various world heritage procedures - be it the nomination of new sites, the monitoring of possible sites or the management of listed properties. In order to answer some of the open questions from a very practical point of view, the German Federal Agency of Nature Conservation (BfN), in cooperation with the Advisory Bodies IUCN, ICRROM and ICOMOS international, has now organized an Expert Workshop “World Heritage and Sustainable Development – From Policy to Action. Making sustainable development policy operational in the World Heritage Convention”.
Throughout the four daylong event at the Island of Vilm, Germany, site managers, and representatives from states parties and advisory bodies discussed ways to transform the policy into a “living practice” within the various World Heritage Convention processes. Our YHE board members Hannah Roehlen (Germany) and Ritika Khanna (India) were invited to represent the voices of young heritage experts, calling for a greater youth involvement at different decision making levels. The implementation of the policy will help to enhance World Heritage as a global leader and standard-setter for best practice, also by helping to promote innovative models of sustainable development.