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

From 7,8, 10 December 2020, ARC-WH, in collaboration with ICOMOS, organised the third version of the Strengthening Capacities of World Heritage Professionals in the Arab Region for Cultural and Mixed sites, which was held online due to the travel restrictions caused by COVID19.

The World Heritage professionals, previously trained by ARC-WH, ICOMOS and the Advisory Bodies in two workshops attended this advanced capacity building course (the first workshop was held in 2018 in Manama, Bahrain for anglophone speaking experts, while the second was held in Rabat Morocco in 2019 for francophone speakers). The workshop focused on the gaps and weaknesses that were addressed by the World Heritage experts who conveyed this vital information in written feedback to ARC-WH and the Advisory Bodies. The feedback included the experts’ experiences and observations in the field of World Heritage conservation and management.

Impact Assessment a topic highlighted during the workshop since there were considerable concerns raised among the experts regarding the negative effects of urban development in the vicinity and within World Heritage properties. The workshop also focused on the procedures of communication with the World Heritage Centre concerning issues such as the state of conservation reports drafted and addressed to the World Heritage Committee, protocols to follow if properties are impacted by external threats, and global challenges like climate change and the effects of COVID-19 on World Heritage sites. Other themes discussed were vernacular architecture in the Arab region, the Nomination process including upstream and Tentative List and preparation of Nominations.

All sessions were followed by debates that allowed participants to interact with the resource persons and discuss gaps that were identified in their written feedback. Many of the experts previously trained in the capacity building programme have contributed to World Heritage work-related activities like desk reviews, as well as collaborative efforts with Advisory Bodies and institutions responsible for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention on the national level.