Sustainable Developments Vol. 24 No. 4

Sustainable Developments

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE CULTURAL SITE MANAGEMENT WORKSHOP

THURSDAY, 29 APRIL 1999

Participants at the Cultural Site Management Workshop assembled in the morning for a video conference with participants at the Byblos Site Management Workshop at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. They spent the remainder of the day discussing the development of a curriculum for a cultural site management (CSM) educational program.

VIDEO CONFERENCE

CSM Workshop Facilitator Peter Auer welcomed participants from the Byblos Site Management Workshop at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) to the video conference to exchange information on CSM. Ron van Oers, Byblos Workshop Project Manager and Assistant Course Director of the TU Delft Master of Science Course on Renewal and Redesign of City Areas, explained that the Byblos Workshop, sponsored by UNESCO, had convened over the past three days to discuss harbor protection and site management for Byblos, Lebanon. Frits van Voorden, Chair of the Byblos Workshop and the Scientific Committee of the Faculty of Architecture, TU Delft, said their aim was to integrate different disciplines to weigh the conservation implications, develop ideas and present findings on local plans to develop a modern jetty and marina for yachts. He said a detailed report based on the Workshop would be produced in draft form in May and completed in June.

Arlene Fleming, Cultural Resource Specialist, World Bank, briefed the Byblos Workshop on the CSM Workshop, explaining that the Bank is encouraging countries to borrow for culture as related to the mission for social and economic development. She said the Bank has a number of projects for CSM and wanted to bring together CSM experts, Bank staff managing such projects, and relevant people working in client countries. She noted that since all these projects, with one exception, are still in the planning stage, the CSM Workshop is timely, and as Lebanon has requested CSM assistance, the Byblos Workshop is of particular interest.

Noting that Byblos’ status as a living city creates some complex CSM issues, participants from the Byblos Workshop asked CSM Workshop participants to provide advice on several issues, including: data and information collection; local community participation, education and training; and short-term action versus long-term planning.

On the lack of sufficient data, CSM Workshop participants suggested a variety of information-gathering techniques, including using remote sensing data and tapping into local people’s knowledge. Byblos Workshop participants responded that from an integrated management perspective, there is a lack of data not only for conservation and infrastructure but on a wide range of elements, from social and economic indicators for the local community to information about the maritime seabed. Additional challenges associated with a conservation site in a living city were noted. Byblos Workshop participants highlighted the need for pre-project data collection and means of recouping associated costs. A CSM Workshop participant noted that the Bank had recently started work on preparing a loan project for Lebanon, a part of which was related to Byblos. The Bank is planning to help the Lebanese Directorate of Antiquities employ a consultant and to commission work necessary to acquire a strong understanding of the site, as this will help develop a project proposal that the Bank can analyze and appraise.

Byblos Workshop participants noted the importance of education and training, such as for municipalities and relevant personnel, and asked if it would be possible to secure Bank funding for such training. A CSM Workshop participant responded that this was possible, as the committee that will have an oversight of the project and discuss such issues will include mayors of five local municipalities, the Lebanese Ministers of Tourism and Culture and the Directorate of Urban Planning.

The CSM Workshop was asked to advise on the tensions between the parallel processes of long-term planning and the need for immediate or early action to tackle pressing problems. Participants noted that it is essential to address short-term issues without compromising long-term conservation. At the same time, the difficulties facing decision-makers who lack sufficient information to address immediate problems was acknowledged, and taking only the minimum action necessary to mitigate such problems was advocated, as this would reduce the risk that such actions might have negative consequences in the long term. The importance of involving key local stakeholders was also highlighted. Byblos Workshop participants explained that they had developed a step-by-step process for formulating long-term strategies, starting with ensuring a wide ownership of CSM objectives before engaging in information gathering and strategy setting.

Frits van Voorden noted two conclusions from the Byblos Workshop: that a site must always have a management system, and that the local authority must be involved in the process. Arlene Fleming asked the Byblos Workshop for comments on the CSM Workshop’s plan to develop a curriculum outline and make a presentation to educate governments and their departments about their role in CSM. Participants stressed the importance of training programs and capacity building, and noted steps to develop international networks of training centers.

CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT

Participants considered the next item on their agenda, to develop a curriculum outline or framework for a CSM educational program to be made available world-wide. They engaged in a discussion to identify the specific objectives and target audience of such a curriculum.

In discussing the appropriate audience, one participant highlighted the need for appropriate training of cultural resource managers in countries where such training is non- existent, and recommended that a curriculum be addressed to cultural resource managers rather than to students. World Bank task managers, their site manager counterparts in other countries, other Bank staff involved in site management, and experts in CSM were also identified as targets. Participants agreed that officials in client countries must be a primary target, as CSM will only succeed if such officials, including staff of various relevant ministries, participate in and contribute to CSM plans. It was suggested that the audience should also include cultural heritage, tourism and educational organizations as well as relevant university departments, as their decisions and programs affect the sustainability of cultural resources. Some expressed doubt that these institutions could be covered and targeted by the same product as that geared toward Bank personnel and client country officials. World Bank task team leaders were identified as particularly important targets. Another important element that was emphasized was the need to convince this array of actors of the importance of cooperation among them on CSM projects.

One speaker explained why Bank personnel must be a primary target for the curriculum. The Bank’s Board has emphasized that cultural aspects underpin development and mandated that culture be mainstreamed into the Bank’s projects. What is needed is to educate all Bank staff as to how and why culture is integral to their work and ensure that cultural considerations are incorporated into all types of projects, including infrastructure and education projects. A participant responded that the objectives must then be to “sell” to the Bank that cultural components in projects can be directed at poverty reduction and that culture is an essential component of the development agenda, and persuade Bank personnel that cultural heritage has to be taken into account in all projects. It was noted that the Bank is now revising its cultural policy to emphasize that it will not undertake projects that damage cultural heritage, and a curriculum or some other type of strategy is needed to help instill this policy.

One speaker reminded the Workshop that the Bank identifies and appraises projects, and while policies on environmental and social considerations are in place, a specific policy for including cultural components in projects is lacking. He explained that there may be some resistance within the Bank to having this as an additional requirement given the profusion of existing requirements that must be met in planning projects. Therefore, the outcome of this exercise should outline how to mainstream consideration of cultural heritage into all sectors and formulate a framework with which Bank task managers can incorporate this into project planning. The need for greater awareness of all Bank staff to recognize when and where cultural heritage is present and needs to be protected was underscored.

Participants observed that what is needed is actually not a framework curriculum for site management but rather a social marketing or instructional strategy to raise awareness at the Bank of precisely how to mainstream cultural heritage into development projects. The usefulness of a collection of success stories illustrating instances where this has been effectively achieved was highlighted. Ideas such as a video or a simulation game were noted as possible means of conveying this message. It was proposed that the product be electronically transmittable and easily and widely disseminated.

Workshop participants decided to synthesize their conclusions from the above discussion and proceed to discuss the potential content of the curriculum. They agreed that the audience for the curriculum should be World Bank personnel, especially project task team leaders, and client country officials involved in or relevant to specific Bank projects. They concluded that the aim was to protect and enhance cultural heritage by increasing the commitment of key stakeholders to the integration of cultural heritage in World Bank development projects.

In discussing the curriculum’s content, participants said it should include: relevant definitions and vocabulary; statements about the value of cultural heritage; significant characteristics of cultural heritage; principles for cultural heritage conservation and management; the Bank’s mission statement and role in relation to cultural heritage; cultural heritage as an integral part of each country assistance strategy (CAS); and case studies. They proceeded to elaborate on each of these items, noting the value of including a rationale.

In discussing definitions and vocabulary, the importance of defining cultural heritage was stressed, as it is essential that the meaning of the term is made clear and that everyone is working from the same basic premise. The definition should address how cultural heritage can relate to economic factors.

Participants agreed that statements about the value of cultural heritage should: include reference to relevant conventions and national legislation; assert cultural values, including aesthetic, historical, social, symbolic, national, and scientific values; and note the specific benefits of cultural heritage, including its direct use, indirect use, financial, small business and social empowerment values. Participants said statements on the value of cultural heritage should also include new emphases, including its value as an increasingly important asset and the fact that travel and tourism is the world’s largest industry. They agreed that cultural heritage should be placed within a broader, holistic understanding of development and be recognized as, inter alia: encouraging employment; being part of our social capital; reinforcing cultural identity; being able to foster peace and stability; acting as a filter for local communities to understand global change and make it meaningful; promoting the importance of cultural diversity; and reflecting the importance of the unique, especially within the context of globalization.

In discussing the significant characteristics of cultural heritage, participants said the curriculum should note that cultural heritage sites: cannot be replaced; can often be threatened by development; are authentic and unique; have a variety of manifestations; are intrinsically related to their particular environment and context; offer insight into a different dimension of time; possess value because they are real in an increasingly “virtual” world; have resulted from human activity; may be difficult to identify in a landscape, being at times not visible, easily comprehensible or tangible; are part of a larger landscape, often including a complex of sites; and may or may not retain their original function. The relevance of the World Heritage Convention was noted.

Participants agreed to set aside discussion on principles for cultural heritage conservation and management, the Bank’s mission statement and role in cultural heritage, and cultural heritage’s role as an integral part of each CAS until the final day of the Workshop. Several participants noted in relation to the Bank’s mission and role, however, that the economic benefits and poverty reduction resulting from cultural heritage activities should be emphasized.

On the question of case studies, participants debated the merits of various approaches, including incorporating examples throughout the text to illustrate specific points, or using examples that support a variety of points. They noted that the purpose of case studies is to encourage Bank personnel and client country officials to integrate cultural heritage into Bank projects and that they should illustrate best practices. Several participants noted that developing some conclusions on cultural heritage principles would help identify useful case studies. Several specific examples were discussed, including the Lascaux and Altamira cave projects in France. It was suggested that the decision on what case studies to use should be taken after considering the content of the curriculum and using examples presented during the Workshop.


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).