The “Outstanding Universal Value” of a World cultural or natural site and the UNESCO quest for common human values and rights should be better connected to present ideas and current concerns, with particular attention to people. The significance of a heritage site is enriched by the diverse memories of the site’s associated communities.
Although a majority of WH sites highlight common achievements, some raise issues of multiple or divergent interpretations. These issues should be openly addressed. This can be at the national level and involve consideration of cultural minorities and/or Indigenous communities associated with the site. But, when it is at the international level, as in the World Heritage Convention, these issues are particularly critical and require tactful treatment.
This Associate Theme will examine ways of peacefully consider such sensitive problems, bridge divides and deepen social cohesion. It will examine how to prevent conflicting presentations of interpretations of a site’s history, not only by acknowledging that multiple memories are associated with the site but also by articulating a methodology for involving diverse stakeholders in the nomination process, the monitoring of sites and capacity building. It will explore how digital technologies make it possible for civil society, the stakeholders associated with the site and Academia can feed pluralistic interpretations, beyond the national presentation by States Parties.