- Global concerns - local responsibilities - global and local benefits: The growing business of world heritage   click here to open paper content83 kb
by    Kammeier, Hans Detlef | kammeier@asianet.co.th   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
More than 700 world heritage sites have been inscribed since the adoption of the World Heritage Convention in 1972. There are global concerns about the skewed distribution, but also national and local issues of adequately managing the sites that are increasingly considered big tourism business. This raises serious questions of sustainability.
The recent 30th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention has brought the “business of heritage” to the attention of many groups that used to be uninterested in this particular dimension of globalization. However, this is global-national-local business, beginning from the fact that the World Heritage Convention has been signed by more nations than any other UN agreement.
The distribution of heritage sites is extremely skewed in favour of economically developed countries, no matter whether the cultural sites are considered, or the relatively few natural ones, or the growing number of mixed sites. To prevent inflationary use of the quality label “World Heritage Site” (WHS), the UNESCO Centre in charge has now rationed the number of annual inscriptions. The effect of this measure is twofold: The developing countries will be at a disadvantage forever, and multiple nominations are on the rise (for example, several French Gothic cathedrals as one WHS).
Management responsibilities are with the “state parties” and especially with the local stakeholder bodies who often find it difficult to agree on objectives, boundaries, cost sharing and maintenance. The benefits are increasingly those of tourism development, with two questionable outcomes – (1) international tourism agencies rather than local interest groups, reaping the bulk of the profit, and (2) too many tourists disturbing the – natural or cultural – place.
The paper is designed to look into the politics and the economics of world heritage affairs, assessing current and expected future issues, and pointing out possible solutions. It also covers the scope for heritage management as an interdisciplinary specialization, with a few examples of curricular development (in Australia, UK and Germany) and a profile of the emerging Asian Academy for Heritage Management.
Obviously, “integrated conservation” – in the context of urban development or cultural landscapes – is a field where planners have a legitimate role. From this angle, the paper should be of interest to ISoCaRP as a whole as well as in particular, to the host country of the congress.

World heritage; local-level management; political economy
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