New heritage approaches should be based on meaningful narratives that convey widespread understanding and social appropriation of heritage sites, in order to ensure their preservation in the current local context while creating living, inclusive and integrated sites. Therefore, new approaches should inquire why and for whom heritage sites are designated. In order to address the new challenges to our collective heritage, proactive strategies for conservation need to integrate nature and culture, and tangible and intangible dimensions in a territorial and urban landscape perspective. As vigorous aspects of diversity in the current geopolitical context, gender, ethnicity, race and income need to be taken into account.
The statement of Outstanding Universal Value is a key step for inscription in the WH list. With reference to the “criteria of selection” established by the Operational Guidelines, OUV has to demonstrate to what extent the “cultural and/or natural significance” is “so exceptional as to transcend national boundaries and to be of common importance for present and future generations of all humanity” (OG 49). OUV is a “key reference for the future effective protection and management of the property” (OG 51) since it provides a narrative that leads to the identification of the “attributes” to be protected, thus defining the scope and the objectives of conservation strategies.
In this framework, it is crucial that OUV really conveys a widespread understanding and a shared interpretation of the heritage sites to promote social appropriation by the residents at the local level. On the other hand, a correct balance between local and universal values has to be ensured since, in the case of World Heritage, “the permanent protection of this heritage is of the highest importance to the international community as a whole”.
Daniele Pini (Italy)
Christina Cameron, Professor Emerita, University of Montreal (Canada)
Topic: Connecting universal and local values in heritage places
Jad Tabet, President of the Lebanese Federation of Engineers and Architects and President of the Organization of Arab Architects (Lebanon)
Topic: Linking heritage values to cultural diversity