The Delphi Conference aspires to value the contribution of the Convention, at the global level
The Ministry of Culture and Sports is organizing, in collaboration with the UNESCO World Heritage Center, an international conference entitled “Next 50: The Future of World Heritage in Challenging Times. Enhancing Resilience and Sustainability”, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Convention for the Protection of the Cultural and Natural Heritage (Paris, 1972).
As the Ministry of Foreign Affairs informs in its announcement, the start of the work of the Congress will be done by the prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakisin the presence of the Director General of UNESCO Audrey Azouley. The conference, which will take place at the European Cultural Center of Delphi, on 17-18 November 2022, will be attended by the contracting member states of the World Heritage Committee, representatives of UNESCO, as well as experts from all over the world.
As stated by the Minister of Culture and Sports Lina Mendoni“today, half a century after the drafting of the Convention, the international community is faced with new, emerging challenges, which require, more than ever, not only the implementation, but also the improvement of the mechanisms of the Convention for the Protection of Cultural and Natural Heritage, in order to mitigate, if not eliminate, the risks that threaten it.
The Delphi Conference aspires to assess the contribution of the Convention, at a global level, and to present future trends, as well as the level of preparedness of societies facing contemporary challenges. To discuss the priorities and possibilities for further protection of the cultural stock, at global and national level.
The themes of the Conference concern two critical factors that already internationally affect cultural and natural heritage and that are predicted to be decisive for the future as well: The climate crisis and its effects on nature, as well as culture and sustainable tourism. For both issues, international collaborations are required, at the political and scientific level, in order to lead to universal solutions”.
The Convention for the Protection of the Cultural and Natural Heritage (Paris, 1972) is the most widespread international legal text, which was formed through the institutions and procedures provided for in it, making use of the international experience which constitutes the common understanding of the content of the protection of the cultural and natural heritage.
At the same time, the Convention has made a decisive contribution to the establishment of high standards for the protection and preservation of World Heritage, demonstrating particular dynamics, as well as the possibility for the continuous adaptation of the perception of the concept of protection, to the circumstances.
According to the reasoning of the Conference, dealing with the effects of climate change on cultural heritage, tangible and intangible, as well as on natural heritage, is today one of the most important stakes worldwide. They are related to temperature fluctuations, rainfall, changes in groundwater, sea level rise, erosion, desertification, severe weather phenomena which result in the occurrence of fires, floods, landslides, rockfalls, etc. a.
In addition to the effects on monuments, climate change can cause significant changes in the environment and natural landscapes, affecting the practices of traditional communities, their economic and social activity.
The management of the effects of the climate crisis is inextricably linked to the general discussion on sustainability, in accordance with the goals of the 2030 Agenda of the United Nations Organization for Sustainable Development and in particular to the development of sustainable tourism.
It is crucial to ensure for the future of the monuments that tourism activities and initiatives, not only do not jeopardize their universal value, integrity and authenticity, but instead ensure sustainable tourism development, open access to cultural goods and understanding and awareness of their value, so that they can be preserved and bequeathed, as intact as possible, to future generations.
Some aspects that will be highlighted in the context of the Conference are related to hypertourism and its environmental footprint, in monuments and cultural heritage sites, as well as the possibilities and perspectives offered by cultural tourism.
All issues will be addressed by presenting case studies, from various geographic regions, in an effort to highlight the current global situation as well as future trends. Also, the level of preparedness of the authorities and societies facing contemporary challenges will be discussed, as well as the possibilities for further protection of the monuments and for more active participation of the interested parties.
Finally, the Conference will attempt to emphasize the urgent need for international cooperation. In this context, the UNESCO World Heritage Convention undoubtedly provides a unique and valuable framework for understanding and documenting issues of this scale and at the same time an integrated communication network of the international community, aiming to address the issues through universal solutions.
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