Did anyone notice 2 occasions where NGOs spoke AGAINST inscription at this year's WHC? There may have been other occasions which I missed.
- an Indonesian NGO titled "WAHLI
" said that UNESCO really shouldn't be inscribing WHC which "celebrate" the release of greenhouses gases into the atmosphere - or other similar "non-green" sites. This statement came AFTER the WHC had already inscribed the site! The speech can be found here
at 2hrs 18 mins 15 secs in.
WAHLI's dissatisfaction with the Indonesian nomination is described here
- a statement from the "Pesticide Action Group - Italy
" and "World Heritage Watch" came just BEFORE the WHS agreed to inscribe Prosecco. stating that "I kindly urge you NOT to inscribe Prosecco....." The Chair gave a somewhat awkward "Thank you" ("We will take note.......") before moving on to the inscription and all the celebrations. The speech can be found here
at 17 min 15 secs in. Here
is a relevant page from the "Pesticide Action Group"
These 2 statements set me thinking - I don't remember such statements in previous years. Well, it appears that, since 2018, NGOs accredited to take part in the WHC have been permitted to make 2 minute statements PRIOR to a decision being taken. I discovered this in the Web site of another "protesting" NGO - "Stonehenge Alliance
" which is working to prevent the building of the road tunnel near Stonehenge. I have however been unable to find anything in the minutes of WHC meetings discussing this policy. It would appear that it is part of UNESCO's push to improve the involvement of "Civil Society" in its activites and decision making. Apparently giving NGOs 2 minutes (precisely!!) to speak before being ignored contributes to the achievement of this policy!!
The Stonehenge Alliance however led me on to another and more significant NGO with whom they work - namely "World Heritage Watch
" (which was also mentioned by the Pesticide Action Group.). I have looked this organisation up in our previous Forum posts and, as far as I can see, we have NEVER referred to it. In retrospect I find this amazing as its Web site and published papers contain a lot of very good and interesting material relating to inscribed and upcoming WHS.
It appears that World Heritage Watch is a "Network" of NGO's "focusing exclusively on the world heritage properties, both cultural and natural, and both inscribed and listed tentatively, in close cooperation with local communities. An international NGO calling for worldwide attention to the views of local and indigenous groups improves chances that their concerns will be addressed, and it will encourage them to get involved
It gets itself accredited at WHCs and acts on behalf of the smaller organisations within its network - So, for instance, it read out the Stonehenge Alliance's statement at the 2018 WHC .
A point of particular interest to us is that it meets in Berlin (always?) every year BEFORE the WHC and publishes a joint "World Heritage Watch Report"
in which there are detailed papers regarding both inscribed and T List sites relevant to that year's WHC (covering mission reports, "in danger" etc etc as well as nominations). This year's "Report" contained reports on Prosecco and Grossglockner as well as many inscribed sites. It appears that the organisation isn't always in favour of inscription and some of its articles are hostile to it e.g the 2 mentioned above. There are also articles about sites not even active on the T List yet so it gives an indication of upcoming nominations.
An organisation and a web site worth keeping in touch with I feel - Its Web site
gives fuller details and contains links to the World Heritage Watch Reports for 2017