By Laman Ismayilova
World Heritage Site Managers Forum started its work at the Baku Congress Center on June 27 as part of the 43rd session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.
The forum, which will last until July 4, was organized by Azerbaijan Ministry of Culture, UNESCO World Heritage Center, International Center for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), Icherisheher State Historical-Architectural Reserve and State Service of Cultural Heritage Conservation, Development and Rehabilitation.
The Minister of Culture Abulfas Garayev, who opened the forum, noted that holding of events of influential international organizations in Azerbaijan testifies the country's authority.
The minister stressed the irreplaceable contributions of President Ilham Aliyev and First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva in developing relations and strengthening the relationship between Azerbaijan and UNESCO. He said that at the 42nd session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, Azerbaijan was elected chairman of the committee for a period of one year. This decision shows the high level of partnership between Azerbaijan and UNESCO.
It was noted that according to the World Heritage Convention, the World Heritage List covers an area of over 276 million hectares.
World Heritage Site Managers Forum is of great importance for achieving more efficient conservation of World Heritage values. This forum as a new initiative started in 2017 in the Polish city of Krakow and is being held for the third time.
The forum involves up to 70 representatives from over 50 countries. During these days, the managers of the world heritage sites will take part in a number of meetings.
A video message was made by the Director General of the International Center for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) Webber Ndoro, who wished success to the forum participants.
Speaking at the event, Director of the World Heritage Center Mechtild Rossler, Head of the Icherisheher State Historical and Architectural Reserve Askar Alakbarov and others noted the global importance of cultural heritage. They also stressed the importance of the World Heritage Site Managers Forum in gaining new knowledge, establishing relationships and sharing experiences.
The major objective of the 2019 edition of World Heritage Site Managers Forum is to promote international cooperation of world heritage site managers and coordinate worldwide actions in favor of the protection and conservation of humankind’s historical heritage.
The forum participants will visit the Icherisheher State Historical-Architectural Reserve , Gobustan State Historical-Artistic Reserve and other sights.
On July 2, participants will speak at the 43rd session of the World Heritage Committee with a special statement.
Azerbaijan became member of UNESCO on June 3, 1992, after restoration of its independence.
In 2003, Azerbaijan and UNESCO signed the framework agreement on cooperation in the areas of culture, science, education and communication, which allowed Azerbaijan to become one of the donors of UNESCO.
In 2017, the organization marked the 600th anniversary of the death of the great Azerbaijani poet and thinker Imadaddin Nasimi.
Moreover, last year UNESCO celebrated the 200th anniversary of the first settlement of Germans in Azerbaijan. In 2013, with the support of UNESCO, the 900th anniversary of Azerbaijani poetess Mahsati Ganjavi was celebrated in Paris.
The gems of Azerbaijani culture, including Icherisheher (Old City), Maiden Tower and Shirvanshah's palace were included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000, while since 2007 the Gobustan National Historical-Artistic Reserve has been also listed among these heritages.
The World Heritage Committee includes representatives of 21 states parties to the World Heritage Convention who meet annually. The Committee is in charge of implementing the Convention.
To date, 1,092 sites in 167 countries have been inscribed on the World Heritage List.
UNESCO’s Heritage List also includes Novruz holiday, Azerbaijani mugham, national ashig art, the national carpet, traditional kelaghai headscarf and national musical instrument tar.
Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Lam_Ismayilova
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