Thursday, September 18, 2014

The main purpose of the participation of the OWHC in the World Heritage Committee Sessions is to follow the inscriptions of new properties on the World Heritage List and to invite the newly inscribed cities to become members of the OWHC. This year seven cities were inscribed (Bergama, Bolgar, Bursa, Jeddah, Erbil, Gwangju and Rotterdam). In addition, close attention was given to the session concerning the state of conservation of inscribed sites, in which often the cases of OWHC member cities are presented. This year the State Party of Chile was asked to clarify new plans for the harbor area in Valparaiso. The Mayor of Valparaiso and Vice-President of the OWHC, Mr. Jorge Castro Munoz, and Ms. Paulina Kaplan Depolo, Director of Heritage Management for the city and also OWHC Regional Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean, were present to provide any further information required by the Committee. The OWHC offers support to its members in these instances.

The World Heritage Committee Sessions also provide an excellent opportunity for meetings with representatives of OWHC partner institutions and other heritage experts to discuss ongoing or future collaborations. For instance, in Doha the Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General had very productive meetings with Mr. Gustavo Araoz, President of ICOMOS; Mr. Joe King, Sites Unit Director of ICCROM; Prof. Michael Turner, UNESCO Chair in Urban Design and Conservation Studies, Bezalel Academy, Jerusalem; Dr. Jyoti Hosagrahar, Director of the International Sustainable Urbanism Doctorate at the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University of New York and Prof. Rohit Jigyasu, UNESCO Chair Professor, Research Center for Disaster Mitigation of Urban Cultural Heritage, Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto. The meetings concerned the development of the theme of the OWHC World Congress in Arequipa, Peru, 3-6 November 2015, which will be “World Heritage Cities, Resilient Cities”. Throughout the session, many contacts were made with other experts concerning current or potential OWHC programs and activities such as Our Place.