The Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage (ARCWH) Expert Meeting on Needs Assessment for Natural Heritage in the Arab Region

The Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage, together with its advisor and consultant, Mr. Tarek Abulhawa, is conducting a Nature Needs Assessment initiative, which included an online Expert Meeting on the Needs Assessment for Natural Heritage in the Arab Region organised on 27 October 2020. The meeting was attended by esteemed representatives from the World Heritage Centre (WHC), IUCN’s World Heritage Programme as well as its Regional Office for West Asia, UNEP West Asia, ICOMOS, the African World Heritage Fund, among other regional experts and a number of regional Site Managers from mixed and natural World Heritage sites in the Arab region.

During the meeting, speakers reported on the state of natural World Heritage sites, on both a global and regional level, and provided overviews of threats that natural heritage sites face. The discussions involved navigating a way forward through these increasing pressures, including better management and preservation. Data from the Third Cycle of the Periodic Reporting of the Arab region, as well as the Gap Analysis conducted by ICOMOS and ARC-WH, will further contribute to determine the gaps in natural World Heritage in the Arab region.

Natural heritage sites in the Arab region, similarly to many other parts of the globe, are vulnerable to issues such as Climate Change, uncontrolled development and resource extraction as well as invasive species.

In the Arab Region, Natural World Heritage remains underrepresented with a total of only three mixed sites and 5 natural sites inscribed thus far. One of the outcomes of this meeting is to create a plan of action to better tackle the needs of Natural heritage sites in the Arab region and to enhance their safeguarding for current and future generations.