The pilot edition of the INTERNATIONAL ACADEMY ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT – Capacity Building Workshop on the Management of UNESCO designated sites: World Heritage Sites and Biosphere Reserves, took place in Turin and in the Piedmont region from October 16th to October 21st, 2015. Over 30 site manager and operators from World Heritage properties and Biosphere Reserves coming from all over the world took actively part to the workshop and training sessions, sharing their experiences and discussing about main working issues and opportunities. Case presented included testimonies from Colombia, China, France, Hungary, Kenya, Mexico, Oman, Portugal, Serbia, among the others.
The Academy has been origanized by the Research Centre Silvia Santagata – Ebla (CSS-Ebla), promoter of the C2 UNESCO Centre on the Economics of Culture, in cooperation with the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe (UNESCO Venice Office), with the precious support of the United Nations System Staff College (UNSSC) and of the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organization (ITC-ILO), the patronage of the City of Torino, the City of Geneva, and the City of Lausanne, and the generous support of the Compagnia di Sanpaolo and Fondazione CRT.
The Academy has been part of the activities promoted by the UNESCO Venice Office within the framework of the EXPO 2015, which included the exhibition “Behind Food Sustainability” on the role of cultural and natural diversity in fostering food sustainability based on the example of UNESCO designated sites. The exhibition, to which CSS-Ebla also contributed, served as source of inspiration for the preparation of the present initiative, as well as the starting point for the involvement of UNESCO designated properties from all over the world.
Main objectives of the initiative, that will become a regular annual meeting among site managers, are to provide a unique opportunity for the exchange of knowledge and territorial good practices at international level on the management of cultural and natural places for sustainable development, and to contribute to advancing professional and institutional capacities of UNESCO designated sites’ managing authorities and operators with special focus on the relationship between territorial management, communities and opportunities for local development. Mainly focused on World Heritage and the Biosphere Reserves Network, the program included also specific sessions focusing on the Intangible Heritage and the Creative Cities Network, topics that will be also faced in the next planned edition.
Training activities took place in Torino (UN Campus), while visits and meetings with stakeholders have been planned with the World Heritage sites of the Vineyard landscape of Piedmont Langhe-Roero and Monferrato, the Residences of the Royal House of Savoy and the Monviso Biosphere Reserve.
The opening of the Academy took place in the frame of the III World Forum on Local Economic Develoment, while the closing day activities have been implemented with a seminar and a visit to EXPO Milan 2015.
Based on the Academy works an results, the aim of the initative is also the setting up of a Community of good management practices in UNESCO designated territories: an international cooperative network of site managers, operators and practitioners able to disseminate and share knowledge, ideas, initiatives, practices, tools to properly manage the UNESCO recognition to promote sustainable development in their respective territories and communities. The Academy, through all its international partners, acts as a real learning and knowledge sharing community, and serves as support to all its members to promote occasions of strengthening networking and international cooperation among sites for the implementation of projects aimed to build and reinforce local capacities towards a sustainable dimension of development. The Community currently includes representative from 40 World Heritage Sites and Biosphere Reserves, from 25 different countries.
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