Organization of
World Heritage Cities

Founded in 1993, the Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC) is currently composed of around 310 cities, each of them inscribed by UNESCO on the World Heritage List. The presidency of the organization is presently held by Mr. Gerald Collomb, Mayor of Lyon, France.
These towns, each of which is an example of a unique heritage value, brought together have a population of over 130 million inhabitants and are distributed on all five continents. The representatives on behalf of these cities within the OWHC are the mayors, who along with cultural heritage specialists participate in the World Congress of the OWHC, an event held every two years, the only international forum that offers an opportunity to bring them together to discuss issues of common interest.

The primary objectives of the Organization are to favor the implementation of the World Heritage Convention, to encourage co-operation and the exchange of information and expertise on matters of conservation and management as well as to develop a sense of solidarity among its member cities.

  • Mr. Yangsik Choi Mayor of Gyeongju Republic of Korea
  • Gérard Collomb Senator and Mayor of Lyon
    President of the OWCH
  • Denis Ricard Secretary General of the OWHC
  • Message from the Mayor of Gyeongju

    The city of Gyeongju is privileged to host the 14th World Congress of the Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC). I wish to extend a most cordial invitation to you to participate in the 14th World Congress of the Organization of World Heritage Cities.

    Gyeongju is the proud home of three UNESCO World Heritage sites: the Bulguksa Temple/Seokguram Grotto, the Gyeongju Historic Area, and the Korean Traditional Village of Yangdong. As the capital city of the the first kingdom that united the Korean peninsula, Silla, Gyeongju had been the capital city of the dynasty for 992years of the time without parallel in world history. Also, the city has achieved great cultural development through exchanges with the cities in other civilizations throughout the long period.

    The City invites you to this year's congress on "Heritage & Community : Tools to Engage the Local Communities". There is no better place to witness the mutually synergistic relationship between the people and World Heritages than Gyeongju, It will be complemented by various cultural and social programs that you can experience not only Gyeongju but also Korea.

    I look forward to welcoming the OWHC family of World Heritage Cities to Gyeongju in October/November.



    Yang-sik CHOI
    Mayor of Gyeongju

  • The World Congress of the Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWCH), which is held every two years in one of the cities of the network, is the highlight of the organization’s activities. In 2017, the City of Gyeongju, South Korea, will host the XIVth congress from October 31st to November 3rd. This will be an exceptional event for three reasons.

    The Organization has just announced its 2020 OWHC Development Plan. This proposal, under the heading Heritage and Development, is decisively focused on the future and will promote exchange and the sharing of expertise of the responsible cities before the international community of heritage management and its transfer to future generations.

    The Organization has decided to work throughout the Congress preparation phase on the Heritage and community topic which will be at the heart of the scientific program. This issue is of major concern as it is true that the residents are not mere spectators of the heritage but real contributors of its safeguard. In the face of planned destruction by barbaric ideologies, citizen participation is paramount to assert the values of heritage for the common good and recognize cultural diversity and otherness.

    Most importantly, for the first time, the Congress of the OWCH will be held in a city of the Asian continent. This is evidence of its global aspiration, but also a genuine challenge for its dynamism and development. This Congress will be a great opportunity for Gyeongju, for South Korea and for East Asia, by highlighting their indispensable contributions to humanity as a whole through culture and heritage.

    I am very grateful to the city of Gyeongju which, with its Mayor, is mobilized to make this event a tremendous success, as well as all of the partners and technical and scientific teams who made a contribution.

  • The OWHC will hold its 14th World Congress in a part of the world that it has managed to engage only recently.

    The city of Gyeongjv in the Republic of Korea is a world heritage jewel at the crossroad between tradition and modernity. What more appropriate setting to talk about heritage and communities!

    The theme of this World Congress is the result of the various themes of the last three world congresses. During the last six years, the OWHC gave particular attention to the active life of the inhabitants of its member cities by taking interest in impact of the climate change, the sustainable development of the city, its adaptation and resilience in the face of future challenges and threats.

    ln 2017, we will focus on the actors of urban life themselves, the communities that make and create in their own image the contemporary urban picture of the world heritage cities.

    A very big thanks to the city of Gyeongjv for hosting this major event of the Organization. Many thanks to all the people who are involved in its organization. l wish you all a good World Congress!

Drafted Schedule
Time 10.30 (Mon) 10.31 (Tue) 11.01 (Wed) 11.02 (Thu) 11.03 (Fri)

Registration at HICO

City Tours for the Arrived Participants

Registration at HICO

Journalists’ Workshop

Youth Forum

City Tours for the Arrived Participants

Registration at HICO

Scientific Sessions

Candidacies for Board of Directors

Candidacies for Host City 2019

Announcement of Returning Officers

Presentation of the JPL Prize-Winning Project

Announcement of Video Competition Award winners

Presentation of the videos

Mayors’ Workshop

Special Session
(Degital Restoration of W.H. Sites)


Regional Meetings

Voting for the Board of Directors

Voting for President of the OWHC and Host City

General Assembly

Evening Cocktail Reception
for the Participants
Opening Ceremony
Welcome Reception

Dinner / Cultural Event

Video about Jean-Paul L’Allier

Announcement of JPL Prize winner

Dinner/ Cultural Event Closing Ceremony
Relative organ
Host & Conduct
gyeong ju
Gyeongju Hwabaek International Convention Center
Bezalel Academy
Mackay Strategic
Eindhoven university of Technology
Gyeongju Smart Center
Gyeongju Convention & Visitors Bureau
Gyeongju Foundation for Arts and Culture
Universite LAVAL