Assistance Program in case of Emergencies – under development


The General Secretariat of the OWHC has been mandated by the General Assembly to draw up a proposal for an “Assistance Program in case of Emergencies”. Such a program is not currently included in the Organization’s Action Plan, despite the fact that many of its members are regularly confronted with crisis situations. The dramatic experience of the war in Ukraine has rekindled the need to propose such a program.

The process for the elaboration of this proposal, described below, will capitalize primarily on the direct experience of OWHC member cities.

OWHC member cities that have been confronted with emergency situations and have developed specific expertise will be asked by the General Secretariat to contribute to the development of the program.


The program will complement the assistance tools already available to member cities (Action Plan 2022-2024), with the following first two objectives:

1. Assist member cities in identifying the risks that concern them, and in implementing preventive actions:

      • Emergency file (relevant information and description of necessary actions to be implemented before and during a disaster)
      • World Heritage site information file (heritage values, state of conservation, etc.)
      • Emergency task force at the municipal level to prepare these files and manage the emergency response.

2. Assist member cities in implementing emergency actions in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, to create favorable conditions for the medium- and long-term rehabilitation / reconstruction of affected historic districts.

program development process

1. Mapping of the experiences of member cities that have faced crises in the past: identification of cases, expertise acquired and experts to be consulted.

2. Gathering of information on implemented actions / good (and bad) practices: analysis of the cases and selection of experts involved in these experiences.

3. Synthesis of the preventive actions

4. Synthesis of immediate post-disaster actions


A first version of the proposal (general concept) for the Assistance Program in Case of Emergencies will be discussed at the 57th meeting of the OWHC Board of Directors (October 10-13, 2023). It will include a summary of mapping and information gathering as arguments in favor of the program, as well as summaries of prevention actions and immediate post-disaster actions (in the form of a checklist) that may be the subject of assistance to be offered under the future program.

Once the initial proposal has been approved by the Board of Directors, the General Secretariat will continue to develop the program as follows:

1. Implementation of a pilot phase involving the program’s technical assistance to volunteer cities, to help them equip or complete their prevention files.

2. Based on the results of the pilot phase, the detailed form and content of the assistance missions and the program implementation procedure will be finalized.

The final version of the Assistance Program in Case of Emergencies will be presented at the 25th General Assembly of the OWHC in September 2024.

For further information or spontaneous contributions, please contact Andréanne Charest, Programs and Projects Manager: [email protected]


17 May 2024

The OWHC Regional Conference of Eastern and Central Europe was successfully held in Split and Dubrovnik (Croatia)

Eastern and Central Europe

Assistance Program in case of Emergencies – under development

27 February 2024

HECITAG Magazine: Stories of World Heritage Cities’ resilience after disasters


Assistance Program in case of Emergencies – under development

13 December 2023

Emergency 3D scanning of the Historic City Hall in Chernivtsi, Ukraine

Chernivtsi, Ukraine

Eastern and Central Europe

Assistance Program in case of Emergencies – under development

30 November 2023

Work meeting to develop the Assistance Program in case of Emergencies in Marrakech

Marrakesh, Morocco

Assistance Program in case of Emergencies – under development

Technical Assistance and Cooperation


Activities of the Regional Secretariats