Strengthening Capacities of World Heritage Professionals in the Arab Region for Cultural and Mixed sites

From 9 to 13 December 2018, the Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage (ARC-WH) alongside International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), and in partnership with the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), conducted a pilot workshop entitled ‘Strengthening Capacities of World Heritage Professionals in the Arab Region for Cultural and Mixed sites’ at ARC-WH headquarters in Manama, Bahrain.

The five-day training course focused on the mechanisms and concepts of the World Heritage Convention, as well as the technical evaluation missions and Reactive Monitoring Missions undertaken by the Advisory Bodies. Comprehensive discussions and modules of the various procedures and regulations of the World Heritage Convention and the Operational Guidelines and the State of Conservation (SOC) of sites were presented to the participants.

Workshop participants were also trained on how to conduct field missions and desk reviews for the evaluation of proposed Nominations, and were asked to present case studies—prepared prior to the training—during the first segment of the workshop to share their experiences in the field, and the challenges faced with respect to their sites. During the last part/segment of the workshop, participants were divided into groups and asked to apply the knowledge they acquired during the course by conducting a Reactive Monitoring Mission or a technical Evaluation Mission to the site of Qal’at al-Bahrain – Ancient Harbour and Capital of Dilmun.

Two field visits to the site were arranged, during which participants were placed in a mock-up Reactive and Evaluation Missions in order to prepare and present their reports and findings at the end of the workshop.  The overall objective of this workshop was to strengthen the capacities and understanding of each regional heritage specialist by providing them with the knowledge and expertise needed to in the field of World Heritage and the conservation of World Heritage sites and sites with potential Outstanding Universal Value (OUV).  By bringing heritage experts from across the Arab region, ARC-WH and its collaborators hope to create a network of regional specialists with whom stakeholders can closely work with, thereby increasing and bolstering conservation efforts of sites and properties.