UNESCO to establish new Regional Center for Heritage Management in Brazil

09:49, July 27, 2010      

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Brazil and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) formalized on Monday during the 34th Meeting of the World Heritage Committee, in Brasilia, the creation of a Regional Center for Heritage Management to be established in Rio de Janeiro.

The announcement was made by UNESCO's Director-General Irina Bokova and Brazil's Minister of Culture Joao Luiz Silva Ferreira, who is the current president of the World Heritage Committee, among other authorities.

The center approved at the 35th General Conference of UNESCO, held last year in France, will be established at Gustavo Capanema Palace, in Rio de Janeiro, and will have the mission to train professionals and to improve tools to manage cultural and natural heritage.

After signing the agreement, Bokova stressed that the institution will not only provide regional training, but will contribute broadly to the preservation of world heritage. "The Center is being created at a very significant moment, since the ( World Heritage) Convention is entering an important phase of debate on developing criteria for registering (new sites) and on how to reconcile preservation and modernity," she said.

Minister Joao Ferreira, for his part, said the "great challenge " for preserving world heritage is the relation between preservation and development, not modernity.

"Brazilian economy is growing nearly 10 percent (a year) and we will become the fifth largest economy in the world. Economic development places the country in a level of increased responsibility (to preserve world heritage)," he explained.

For him, the conception of heritage needs to be modernized, and Brazil proposes an update on the concepts that govern the Convention.

With its commitment to create the Center in Rio de Janeiro, the Brazilian government expects to spread its experiences concerning world heritage, to meet the internal demands and to assist in the training of managers from South American and Portuguese-speaking African countries.

President of Iphan (Brazil's Institute of Historic and Artistic National Heritage) Luiz Fernando de Almeida said that the Center will be a very important tool for the preservation of heritage in Brazil, Africa and South America.

"From 2011 on, it will offer a basic course for managers from 17 countries and will also play the role of an observatory of cultural heritage, which is part of a decentralization policy of the World Heritage Committee," he said.

The Center will play a regional role, like other Centers located in China, Bahrain, Mexico, South Africa and Norway.

It will focus on the implementation of UNESCO's Conventions for the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage (1972), for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003) and for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (2005).

In December, a meeting will be held in Bahrain with the participation of representatives of the six existing Centers to share experiences and work criteria.

The 34th Meeting of UNESCO's World Heritage Committee takes place up to Aug. 3 in the Brazilian capital to analyze requests to register new sites on World Heritage List and to review the status of listed sites considered to be in danger. Brasilia celebrates in 2010 the 50th anniversary of its foundation and is hosting UNESCO' s Committee meeting for the second time. The first one took place in 1988, a year after the recognition of the city as a World Cultural Heritage.

Source: Xinhua


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