At the Kazan Conference, it was suggested to establish a Russian Association of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites’ Managers

On Thursday, 8 December, the findings of the International Conference of the World Cultural Heritage Sites’ Managers were summed up in Kazan. They were read out by Maria Ryadova, chief architect of the Tsarskoe Selo state museum-reserve. 

According to her, the conference participants noted that the World Cultural Heritage Sites’ managers still find themselves confronted with a variety of challenges related to the sites preservation and protection. For example, such challenges are related to human-caused impact, including new construction and uncontrolled tourism at UNESCO sites.

Ryadova said that the conferences participants consider it necessary to support the initiative of the town-island of Sviyazhsk state museum-reserve to set up a Russian Association of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites’ managers. 

The conference was attended by the representatives of state authorities in culture, heads and employees of museums along with the leading experts in the preservation of monuments from more than 30 countries of the world with the presentation delivered by the representatives of Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, China, Benin, Lebanon, and Venezuela.

The participants of the conference comprising two plenary sessions and four working sections set future tasks and ways to address them. Discussions highlighted the need to continue international cooperation in the field of preservation and popularisation of sites included in the UNESCO World Heritage List as well as other cultural heritage sites at the governmental and non-governmental level. 

“It was observed that interaction and international cooperation in the field of countering global climate change are required. It was also noted that we need to shape a special culture of visitors’ behavior at the World Heritage sites, through the creation of ethical norms with an emphasis on respect for the outstanding universal value of a heritage site," Maria Ryadova pointed out. 

According to her, some countries use conventional materials and technologies in restoration of cultural heritage sites in order to ensure their compliance with authenticity criteria. “It is essential to develop promising areas for the preservation of cultural landscapes under the ecological approach with biosphere diversity ensured and local community involved. Special attention should also be paid to the training and education of the younger generation under the mindset of respect for cultural heritage," she emphasised. 

The World Cultural Heritage Sites’ Managers Conference was held in Kazan from 5 to 8 December as part of the International Forum for the 50th anniversary of Convention concerning the Protection of the World Heritage.