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Managing World Heritage Sites Sustainably

Sustainability Workshop

How can World Heritage sites be managed sustainably? This is the main question of the Young Experts Forum (YEF) taking part in the Upper Middle Rhine Valley and Bonn from 18 to 29 June. The Young Experts – that is to say young professionals working in the fields of architecture, site management, cultural and natural heritage as well as students in these fields – define the most important steps towards a sustainable management and exchange their experience.

On the first day of the Forum (18 June) the participants of the YEF exchanged their views on sustainability during an interactive workshop organized and conducted by Bianca Bilgram from the German Commission for UNESCO and her colleagues. What is sustainability? For the young experts Sustainability means – among many different interpretations – future, inheritance and values. It is understood as a triad of economic, social and environmental sustainability. Important questions were discussed like the problem for developing countries that might have to choose between economic growth and sustainability.

After the input and discussion about the concept of sustainability, the young experts had the opportunity to complement their knowledge with a practical example: On the second day of the Forum (19 June) they discovered the Upper Middle Rhine Valley. Listening to a presentation by Sarah Scheer from the Upper Middle Rhine Valley World Heritage Association, the participants thought among others about the question of how to facilitate the everyday life of the local people living at the two Rhine shores. Over a length of 100 km people can only cross the river by ferry: should there be a bridge uniting the two sites? Will it destroy the scenery or interfere to the biodiversity? What other options are there? During the discussion with the site management, the young experts raised their questions, exchanged ideas and gave recommendations especially on how to involve young people in the sustainable management of World Heritage sites.


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