World Heritage Watch
World Heritage Watch champions involvement of civil society to influence the outcome of decisions made by the annual meetings of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee. For the first time, NGOs were permitted to read out 2 minute statements prior to a decision being taken at the WHC meeting in Bahrain in 2018.
We joined World Heritage Watch (WHW) in 2017 and the Stonehenge Alliance were registered observers at the World Heritage Committee 2018. Unfortunately we were unable to participate directly but kept in close touch, viewing proceedings on line. World Heritage Watch read out our statement in response to a last minute amendment that weakened the Draft Decision so that it would not have asked for proper protection of the integrity of Stonehenge World Heritage Site. Our statement had been previously circulated to all 21 members of the World Heritage Committee. In the event the outcome was a much more positive result, and a triumph for inclusive dialogue.
World Heritage Watch Report 2018
The threat to Stonehenge WHS is described on pages 156 to 159. The Stonehenge road scheme is on the agenda for WHW seminar and the World Heritage Committee.
World Heritage Watch
WHW is a new world wide organisation founded in St.Petersburg in 2012 to improve the effectiveness of civil society’s involvement in the World Heritage Convention, its Committee and Advisory Bodies (such as ICOMOS and IUCN) in addition to the NGOs’ respective state parties. WHW considers that:
It is time for civil society to join hands with UNESCO’s World Heritage Mission, by identifying threats, their causes and advocating remedies. The World Heritage should not be relegated to government offices alone. Local populations and indigenous peoples should be supported by concerned citizens to protect their world heritage.
To that end WHW holds a Forum immediately prior to the annual meetings of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee. 50 NGOs including Stonehenge Alliance attended the 4th WHW Forum in Kraków this year (2017). As a result Stonehenge Alliance has been able to network with decision makers and other key players as well as fellow campaigners from around the world. It is a remarkable achievement.
We have also formed a small band of International Representatives who want to see improvements in the Stonehenge WHS landscape that will leave it undamaged by further development. They have helped us with translating our petition and have offered to be regional links. We introduce our specialist supporters below.
Spanish speaking countries
José Garcia is Manager of the Heritage Portal Todopatrimonio.com. This is a not for profit information portal to promote research reports and publications by conservation and heritage institutions in Spanish. The portal has been designed to be a convenient reference repository for professionals, researchers and students in heritage and conservation. The Portal also contains a directory of journals and links to the full text of articles from each issue, proceedings from conferences, posters, papers, technical reports, theses etc.
José writes: “We are currently working on a project to implement a repository (digital library) of intangible cultural heritage (ICH). We are at an early stage of the project, which we hope to complete in few months.”
“Todopatrimonio.com is the digital repository for “Preserv@Doc: Association for Documentation, Dissemination and Preservation of Cultural Heritage”.
Follow José on Twitter at @todopatrimonio
Southeast Asia, China and Iraqi Kurdistan
Matt Brady is a digital communications specialist with an extensive international perspective, having worked on projects in Southeast Asia, China and Iraqi Kurdistan. Matt, who formerly worked with the British Council, writes copy, designs infographics and plans strategic communications. He is interested in the use of digital technologies, storytelling for good causes and to influence change “one pixel at a time”.
Matt specialises in Chinese social media and Asian digital practices. “I am currently working on the Bujang Valley website, which is very much work in progress!”
Follow Matt on Twitter at @mattbrady.
Jošt Hobič is an archaeologist who specialises in landscape and community archaeology in Slovenia and understands first hand the impact of competing interests between heritage and development. He writes:
“I live in the beautiful landscape of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Škocjan Caves, which is near my village. I am also a member of Civil Initiative Brkini – a group of friends who care deeply for the natural and cultural heritage of the landscape we live in. And we know that money and “development” have no regards for this heritage, not even for UNESCO WHS.
When I first heard about this absurd tunnel plan in Stonehenge WHS a few months ago I was shocked. How can you plan such a thing in the surroundings of one the world most famous cultural and archaeological monument?
For me, Stonehenge is an irreplaceable archaeological heritage monument and the landscape that surrounds Stonehenge is also astonishing. Every year archaeologists find more and more important sites around Stonehenge and our understanding of peoples and societies in the past is getting more complex. I support Save Stonehenge WHS Alliance because I believe they stand for the right thing – we cannot allow that short sighted interest destroys this unique archaeological landscape in the world which connects people all around the Earth.”
Follow Jošt on Twitter at @jost_hobic
PETITION IN OTHER LANGUAGES