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WHC Session Day #1: Looking Forward

On Sunday evening the 39th session of UNESCO’S World Heritage Committee started off in the former plenary hall of the German Bundestag in Bonn. Under the chair of Maria Böhmer, Minister of State at the German Federal Foreign Office, it is the second time Germany hosts the Committee Session after 1995.


In a video message German chancellor Angela Merkel reminded the audience of the importance of World Heritage sites for a profound understanding of culture. In her opening speech Irina Bokova, General-Director of UNESCO, called to protect mankind’s cultural heritage in times of peace and war alike. Chairwoman Böhmer underlined that the session has to send a signal that the World Heritage needs to be protected in a joint approach.

Verena Metze-Mangold, President of the German Commission for UNESCO, emphasized that young World Heritage experts should be given the special attention of the plenary. Representing a new generation of global citizens, they are playing a crucial role for the future of the World Heritage.

Five participants of the Young Experts Forum that was held prior to the Committee session presented the results of their ten-day meeting, closing the opening ceremony. In a declaration they demand to further strengthen the issues of World Heritage Education, the involvement of young people and local communities in to World Heritage management to sustainably secure the sites.