Product has been added to the basket

World Heritage for the Nation

Response to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport consultation: World Heritage for the Nation: Identifying, Protecting and Promoting our World Heritage

Submitted 24 February 2009

Q1: Given the factors we have set out in this document, which of the following options should we adopt in relation to the future nomination of sites for World Heritage Status?

1. The GeoConservation Commission’s preferred option is to both draw up a shorter and more focused Tentative List, spacing out nominations and introducing a two-stage application process to filter out early those sites unlikely to be successful; and to consider alternative designations such as a National Heritage List or the European Heritage label.

Q2: What further measures should be considered to improve the management and promotion of our World Heritage Sites?

2. The World Heritage Committee encourages and supports the development of educational materials, activities and programmes. The Secretariat, in cooperation with the UNESCO education sector and other partners, produces and publishes a World Heritage Educational Resource Kit, ‘World Heritage in Young Hands’ for use in secondary schools around the world. State Parties are encouraged to develop educational activities related to World Heritage with, wherever possible, the participation of schools, universities, museums and other local and national educational authorities.

3. However in Britain it is left to the few to promote and develop sites. Unfortunately World Heritage Sites are not included within the National Curriculum, but most sites have educational material and outreach programmes. Some sites have run programmes with local schools, but they are few in number. We doubt that most people could refer to a WHS near to where they live.

4. There should be a joint strategy for building awareness of World Heritage Sites in addition to local initiatives. With 27 sites on the World Heritage List, the UK is joint seventh on the list of over-represented nations and the vast majority are cultural sites as opposed to natural sites. The balance needs to be re-dressed. With regard to natural World Heritage Sites defined largely by outstanding Landscape and Geology, we consider that awareness in schools and further education establishments could be promoted by bodies such as the Earth Science Education Forum for England and Wales (ESEF) and the Scottish Earth Science Education Forum (SESEF). There is also a paucity of living cultures, especially traditional cultures, in the UK List and this should be re-dressed.

5. In the UK we need to push one site where all WHS information can be made available: we believe this would improve the promotion and awareness of sites. DCMS have established a World Heritage Portal at which contains useful information and links to other sites. The portal offers potential for development as a significant educational resource.

A A McMillan
Chair, GeoConservation Commission*
22 February 2009

* The GeoConservation Commission is a commission of The Geological Society. It is made up of all the organisations that are of relevance in geoconservation in the UK, including JNCC, the Country Agencies, UKRIGS and the Geology Trusts, and the British Geological Survey. For more information about the organisations involved in the Commission, and for details of other useful organisations involved in geoconservation see The GeoConservation Commission aims to promote the conservation of our Earth heritage and to ensure that we pass it on in good order to future generations for investigation, education and enjoyment.