This is the first time I've ever attended such a grand meeting. I arrived at the UNESCO Centre early in the morning, feeling a bit nervous, humbled but all excited, says IUCN's Yichuan Shi.
Sitting in the main conference hall were people of many different nationalities. I didn't notice our differences but instead the common World Heritage tapestry of human genius and natural beauty that brings us together, preserving our past and building our future.
The meeting began with the World Heritage Programme Director General’s opening speech on World Heritage Sites, their importance, their unique tales, the need to balance conservation and development, the stress on keeping the credibility of the Convention through the principles of objectivity and impartiality.
States called for a more balanced representation of natural heritage sites versus cultural heritage sites and also for more balance in geographical terms between the developing and developed world.
Also proposed were indicators for managing results, training, and encouraging sites from under-represented countries.