Sustainable Developments Vol. 24 No. 3

Sustainable Developments

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE CULTURAL SITE MANAGEMENT WORKSHOP

WEDNESDAY, 28 APRIL 1999

Participants at the Cultural Site Management Workshop convened in the morning to hear presentations and engage in discussions on usage of cultural heritage sites. They met in small groups in the afternoon to identify challenges and make recommendations for cultural site management (CSM) components of Bank-financed projects in six countries.

AUTHORITY STRUCTURE AND FINANCIAL SUPPORT

A group of participants that met Tuesday evening reported their summary of Tuesday’s discussion on authority structure and financial support of CSM to the Workshop. Highlighting management structure, authority structure and financing as key elements, they noted that major sites require national government participation, political will and high-level support, and underscored the Bank’s role in ascertaining political commitment. They stressed that community participation and support can help secure political backing and endorsement of CSM plans. On financing, they recommended that mechanisms be established to ensure that revenue collected from sites is reinvested in CSM activities and that investment is appropriate to site conservation and best usage. Tourism development investment should consider carrying capacity and the potential for revenue from heritage-related copyrights should be explored. They identified several fundraising sources, including user fees, endowment funds, memberships, activities and entertainment, and market linkages for arts and crafts.

USAGE OF SITES

Ricardo Francovich, Professor of Archaeology, University of Siena, Italy, presented information on San Silvestro Park in Tuscany, a site that displays the development of a community and its mining activities from the Etruscan period to the 20th century. He highlighted methods for providing a stimulating experience for visitors, including: restoration of the medieval hilltop settlement; use of landmarks; sensitive vegetation management; effective yet discreet signage; and facilities designed to cater to visitors with varied levels of interest and mobility. He emphasized that successful implementation required a viable concept with strong scientific underpinnings that demonstrated benefits for visitors and the local community.

Douglas Comer, Chief, Applied Archaeology Center, US National Park Service, described the Cultural Site Analysis Initiative, a historic preservation project in Cape Coast, Ghana. He explained that it complements an earlier castle restoration project that attracted visitors to the area but did not generate significant revenue for the local community. The project aims to generate awareness and provide appropriate access to other historical and cultural sites in Cape Coast. It seeks to: increase visitors’ length of stay by providing services and attractions to draw them into the historic town; protect cultural resources for the benefit of visitors and the local community; and bring economic benefits of tourism to the local population. The project uses GIS and remote sensing and examines environmental parameters, infrastructure, historic and archaeological sites, and districts and traditional use areas, and is conducted in collaboration with local groups. He highlighted the useful applications of spatial analyses, including for planning and prioritizing infrastructure improvement, identifying needs for public involvement, and planning interpretative programs, and noted that they can be constructed from data that are accessible and relatively easy to obtain.

John Stubbs, Vice President of Programs, World Monuments Fund, highlighted issues related to usage of the Angkor site in Cambodia. He described the economic under-development of Cambodia due to extended civil war and problems and opportunities presented by the war’s recent end, particularly for exploiting its tourism development potential. He noted that the site is now being revitalized as a place for research and tourism. Highlighting problems of funding, conservation, looting, a negative public image, and poor education and infrastructure surrounding the site, he said efforts to address these problems should employ best practices. He emphasized the need for interpretative displays, museums and other initiatives to provide information about the site’s history, development of connections between tourists and the local people, and programs to train potential site managers, such as a recently established education and training center for Cambodians in cultural conservation and site management. He noted plans to construct large hotels and a tourist village at Angkor Wat and upgrade the road to Phnom Penh, and emphasized the crucial importance of appropriate planning and control of such developments to ensure Angkor’s integrity.

Donald Hawkins, Professor and Director, International Institute of Tourism Studies, School of Business and Public Management, George Washington University, discussed tourism and CSM, particularly the role of various stakeholders. Noting that the tourism sector is demonstrating a more enlightened attitude regarding the long-term benefits of preserving cultural assets, he said the private sector, the scientific/archaeological community, the public sector, local communities and other stakeholders must cooperate on project development. He drew participants’ attention to the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development’s current meeting to discuss sustainable tourism. He underscored that countries and sites can achieve a comparative advantage in tourism by adding value through effective management and innovative use of technologies such as the Internet. He emphasized the importance of marketing, highlighting the need to identify target audiences and develop strategies to attract the desired market segment. On finance and investment, he said revenue must be reinvested in the site itself and in educating the local community about the site. He highlighted the potential use of World Bank Learning and Innovation Loans (LILs) and of certification programs such as Green Globe in promoting sustainable tourism.

Ihab Amarin, Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, Jordan, described the process of site management of the Petra Archaeological Park in Jordan. He noted a series of management plans and projects that were undertaken to formulate recommendations to address threats facing the site, protect the archaeological and cultural heritage resources, secure sustainable economic development opportunities for the local community, define planning and design options, and minimize tourism’s detrimental impacts. He described the Petra Component of the Bank’s ongoing Second Tourism Development Project, designed to complement conservation and protection work and focus on enhancing the surrounding areas and improving site management. The component plans to improve the visitor center, enhance site management, and develop a visitor management plan.

Tulin Sermin Ozduran, Architect, Ministry of Culture, Turkey, presented information on plans for the ruins on Nemrut Dag in Turkey. She noted that the site currently lacks tourist facilities and outlined steps to facilitate tourism, including: determining the desired level and nature of tourism; allocating task responsibilities; identifying and developing financial sources; creating a CSM plan; and restoring and developing the site. She emphasized the substantial potential for tourism and thus the need for careful preparation.

Dennis Mahar, Manager, Environment and Natural Resources Group, World Bank Institute (WBI), described the increasing importance of learning and knowledge on the World Bank’s agenda. He demonstrated the Bank’s comparative advantage in learning and capacity building, given its fifty years of experience in development, links to institutional clients (including non- traditional audiences), neutral perception, global and interdisciplinary expertise, convening power with high-level officials, and pedagogical skills. He explained that WBI provides training, policy services, and knowledge networks to clients.

Mr. Mahar then described a case of site management in Rondônia, Brazil, where the Bank sought to guide land use in a way that protects both natural and cultural heritage. The main instrument used to guide land use was socio-economic-ecological zoning to delineate areas for different types of land use. He explained that the project attempted to identify stakeholders and their incentives to support or oppose zoning, although there was little consultation with people in the area before the zoning was enacted into law, as the government did not cooperate with relevant NGOs and certain parties opposed to the zoning were excluded from the process. While several violations of the zoning have occurred, the project was effective in that deforestation was extremely limited in the area demarcated for an indigenous reserve, despite its close proximity to roads and extractive zones. This was largely due to strong lobbying both nationally and internationally to protect indigenous areas. He said this zoning project demonstrates that it is possible to protect both natural and cultural heritage simultaneously.

SITE ACTION PLAN DEVELOPMENT

Arlene Fleming, Cultural Resource Specialist, World Bank, explained that participants would divide into small groups to distill lessons from discussions and presentations during the Workshop thus far and apply these to specific Bank-financed projects in Turkey, Croatia, Jordan, Albania, Ethiopia and Eritrea. The groups assessed progress, identified challenges and recommended future actions to apply to these projects, and reconvened in a Plenary session to report their findings.

The group considering the Butrint project in Albania highlighted political challenges and stressed the need to defuse pressure in southern Albania for mass tourism and “get-rich-quick” schemes. The need for a pressure group advocating for conservation values in the region was noted. Future actions could include constituency development, NGO involvement and technical analysis.

The group that discussed the Salona project in Croatia said the first step is to develop the CSM plan. Priorities include setting objectives and defining specifics about the site and its economic, social and historical significance. They noted that this should be a reiterative process that can review its objectives and methods. Elements addressed in the plan should include consideration of new excavations, staffing, financing, and local community involvement. The group supported a regional perspective that considers other cultural assets in the region.

In the case of the Axum site, the group discussing projects in Ethiopia and Eritrea highlighted the need to establish a system in which national entities become service support units for the regional pilot on the ground. They expressed uncertainty regarding how the loan would operate, as concern remains about the steering committee’s ability to enable the local pilot. They noted that the war is a political distraction at a high level but confirmed that they are in a position to make progress at the implementation level. Regarding Eritrea, the group noted the particularities of working in a country that only recently gained independence. Priorities identified included the need to: develop localized inventories; provide training to deal with cultural assets; prepare to conduct national surveys; involve other stakeholders; and establish an appropriate legal framework.

The group considering the Petra project in Jordan discussed three pressing problems: social conflict in the area; the failure to generate adequate revenue from the site to benefit the local people; and the need to protect the site itself. They suggested that the social conflict, which has arisen due the villagers’ desire to further develop the area, could be addressed through public awareness efforts that explain the potential consequences of over-building the area. The group suggested that the Bank might establish a financing mechanism to enforce existing rules on building and zoning and assist people in housing renovations so these changes could be controlled and the success of the project ensured. To increase revenues, visitors could be encouraged to extend their stay by providing entertainment activities at the site and including Petra in a wider context of regional sites and itineraries of other under- exploited sites in the area. To protect and preserve the site, the group considered that the Bank could invest part of its loan in capacity building in site protection and management and conservation work.

The group discussing three sites in Turkey agreed that the first step in establishing a CSM plan is to understand that economic development depends on the long-term conservation of cultural assets. In developing such plans, they highlighted the importance of, inter alia: defining the proper audience and aims; undertaking detailed site surveys that assess natural, cultural and social values; conducting management assessments; ensuring that there is a site manager in place, preferably of local origin; considering appropriate levels of private and public involvement; and ensuring local community involvement in the decision-making process at all stages. The group also discussed methodologies in developing CSM plans, long-term financing of sites, such as development of a foundation or endowment fund for long-term site development, and the importance of ensuring that the Ministry of Culture understands the CSM plan development process so it can apply this process in developing future sites.


Sustainable Developments is a publication of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) (info@iisd.ca), publishers of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin ©. This issue is written and edited by Kira Schmidt (kiras@iisd.org) and Chris Spence (spencechris@hotmail.com). Digital Editing by Andrei Henry (ahenry@iisd.ca). The Managing Editor of Sustainable Developments is Langston James "Kimo" Goree VI (kimo@iisd.org). Funding for coverage of this meeting has been provided by The World Bank. The authors can be contacted at their electronic mail addresses and at tel: +1-212-644-0204 and by fax: +1-212-644-0206. IISD can be contacted at 161 Portage Avenue East, 6th Floor, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 0Y4, Canada; tel: +1-204-958-7700. The opinions expressed in the Sustainable Developments are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD and other funders. Excerpts from Sustainable Developments may be used in other publications with appropriate academic citation. Electronic versions of Sustainable Developments are sent to e-mail distribution lists (ASCII and PDF format) and can be found on the Linkages WWW-server at (http://www.iisd.ca/linkages/). For further information on Sustainable Developments, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Managing Editor at (kimo@iisd.org).