8 April 2019
The UNESCO Almaty Cluster Office organized a sub-regional workshop in Almaty, Kazakhstan on March 5-6, 2019. The sub-regional workshop focused on introducing Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) approach in Central Asia, and it was part of a project “Technical support to the Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi in Turkestan, Kazakhstan, by” with financial support from the Netherlands Funds-in-Trust.The sub-regional workshop acknowledged the relevance of the Historic Urban Landscape approach, which considers management as reconciling complementary objectives such as heritage conservation, socio-economic development, the enhancement of heritage and the living culture – and the quality of life. All these components could be addressed in further work.
The sub-regional workshop was a follow up of the national workshop held 30-31 October 2018 in Turkestan, Kazakhstan and confirmed the recommendations of the first workshop. The goals for both workshops were to familiarize with the UNESCO recommendations on the HUL through case studies and to provide recommendations on heritage management for the World Heritage Properties in the sub-region.
The focus of this sub-regional workshop was also to achieve a better understanding of the World Heritage Convention concept and monitoring process in practice, clarify State Party responsibilities and to achieve an active collaboration on national, local levels. The HUL approach, main principles and toolkit were applied to help create an effective regulatory and planning structure which faces rapid urbanisation and tourism pressures.
The participants of the sub-regional meeting, including heritage management representatives and professionals from Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan expressed their concerns about the state of conservation of World Heritage properties in Central Asia and of their outstanding universal value, both threatened by urban development and infrastructure.
All experts agreed on tackling main management issues such as raising awareness and strengthening the capacity of local administrations , site managers and communities as well as the need for increased coordination between monument protection authorities, local administrations and other stakeholders.
The participants concluded that there are many shared concerns in the sub-region; the need for enhanced governance on all levels; the urgency for developing integrated heritage management and sustainable tourism strategies ; the need for enhanced knowledge of the implementation of the World Heritage Convention and the lack of conservation and management expertise, among others. Participants recognized the important role of site managers, especially on sites with a high urban development pressures the site managers role must be strengthened. In their remarks, the participants wished to continue regularly with capacity-building and training initiatives at national and subregional levels. These activities would also enhance the cooperation with national partners in Central Asia.