World congress

During the last General Assembly of the OWHC, which was celebrated in Arequipa (Peru) in November 2015, the city of Gyeongju (Republic of Korea) was elected to host the XIV World Congress of the OWHC.

This XIV Congress will be held from October 31 to November 3, 2017 under the theme “Heritage and Communities: Tools to engage local communities”. It will offer to its participants many workshops, such as the Mayors’ workshop, Journalists’ workshop, Youth forum, Posters’ exhibition, etc.

Monday 30th October 2017
14:00 - 18:00 Registration at Convention Center
19:00 - 22:00 Cocktail Reception for the Participants
Tuesday 31st October 2017
09:00 - 19:00 Registration at Convention Center
13:00 - 15:00 City Tours for the Participants
17:00 - 19:00 Opening Ceremony
19:00 - 22:00 Welcome Reception
Wednesday 1st November 2017Congress Moderator : Prof. Richard Mackay, ICOMOS cultural advisor
08:30 - 18:30 Registration at Convention Center
09:00 - 09:20 Keynote Address
Speaker : Prof. Michael Turner, named endowed chair professor of UNESCO, professor in Academy of Arts and Design, Israel
09:20 - 09:35 The issues to be addressed and the objectives of the day
09:35 - 10:35 Session 1: Community involvement in promotion and valorisation of urban heritage.
Speakers: OWHC’s cities
10:35 - 11:35 Session 2: Community involvement in management & safeguarding of urban heritage.
Speakers: OWHC’s cities
11:35 - 12:00 Coffee break
12:00 - 13:00 Session 3: Community involvement in development of public policies related to urban heritage.
Speakers: OWHC’s cities
13:00 - 14:30 Lunch
14:30 - 15:30 Session 4: Using urban heritage to support community development
Speakers: OWHC’s cities
15:30 - 16:30 Session 5: Community involvement within the OWHC’s regional activities.
Speakers: Regional coordinators
16:30 - 17:00 Coffee break
17:00 - 18:00 Conclusion Session
18:00 - 18:30 A Tribute to Jean-Paul L’Allier
Announcement of the Winner of the Jean-Paul L’Allier Heritage Prize
19:00 - 22:00 Dinner/Cultural Event
Thursday 2nd November 2017
09:00 - 10:30 Candidacies for the Board of Directors
Candidacies for Host City 2019
Announcement of Returning Officers
10:30 - 11:00 Coffee Break
11:00 - 11:45 Presentation of the JPS Prize-Winning Project
Announcement of Video Competition Award winners
Presentation of the Videos
11:45 - 13:00 OWHC Activities
13:00 - 14:30 Lunch
14:30 - 17:00 Regional Meetings
17:00 - 17:30 Voting for the Board of Directors/Coffee break
17:30 - 18:15 Plenary – discussion and proposal for the 2019 World Congress theme
19:00 - 22:00 Dinner/Cultural Event
Announcement of the elected members of the Board of Directors
Declaration of candidates for President of the OWHC
Friday 3rd November 2017
09:00 - 09:20 Presentation of the candidates for President of the OWHC
09:30 - 12:30 Mayors’ Workshop

Special Session for the participants
- Heritage on the Cutting Edge : Digital Technology and Heritage
12:30 - 14:00 Lunch
14:00 - 14:30 Voting for President of the OWHC and Host City
14:30 - 18:30 General Assembly

Expert’s Site Visit
19:00 - 22:00 Farewell Dinner/Closing Ceremony/ Cultural Event

Heritage & Communities: tools to engage local communities

Involving local communities in the management, presentation and promotion of a city's cultural heritage is not always a simple and obvious process for municipalities. As a reminder, in the last decades of the twentieth century, community involvement was often achieved through education rather than cooperation, but since 2007, it is recognised as the fifth “C” of the Strategic Objectives (“C” for communities) of the World Heritage Committee(1).

However, the 21st century has seen the rise of urban occupation by human populations and a proliferation of properties’ inscriptions on the World Heritage List in urban areas now encompassing an unprecedented number of 1600(2) including parts of cities, townships and villages.

In 2017 it has become unthinkable not to take into account the views of local people in the mechanisms to be adopted to conserve and manage the urban heritage or properties present in the urban territory of a city as highlighted in the UNESCO Global Report “Culture: Urban Future”(3) and as indicated in the New Urban Agenda(4).

This observation is due to the fact that this "UNESCO specificity" provides an additional level of engagement to be respected in order to ensure the Outstanding Universal Value which defines a part of the urban heritage. Consequently, seeing Culture as an enabler for the Local Sustainable Development of a city has an obvious and direct impact on the daily lives of the inhabitants of the concerned neighbourhoods.

A major question, then, is what participatory roles can be given to the local communities to assist the municipalities in their obligations? A secondary question is how can this participation be implemented effectively, in the context of World Heritage Cities?

To this the OWHC will provide insights through a multi-day scientific programme which will put at the heart of the debates its own community composed of mayors, elected municipal officials and local heritage experts.

The flagship event will be a day devoted entirely to tools and precedents that have proved their worth in the involvement of local communities. As in 2015, these tools will come from the cities of the OWHC and will be presented by their own designers.

The second important event will be the Mayors' workshop dedicated to mayors and municipal officials. The latter will be a direct continuation of the Scientific Day and will focus on the use of the "UNESCO label" as a tool for sustainable and local socio-economic development that benefits the inhabitants.

In parallel, a poster exhibition will be present throughout the entire Congress and the Jean-Paul-L'Allier Prize will award this year a project with a strong component linked to local communities.

  1. In 2007, the World Heritage Committee revised its Strategic Objectives (Decision 31 COM 13B) based on the Budapest Declaration on World Heritage adopted in 2002 during the 26th session of the Committee.
    Operational Guidelines, paragraph 26 (5)
    Operational Guidelines, paragraph 211
  2. Ana Pereira Roders et al., Human Settlements Managing World Heritage, Results of a Global Survey (1978-2015), Eindhoven University of Technology, 2015, p.3
  3. Culture: Urban Future, Recommendation 3.3
  4. New Urban Agenda, paragraph 12
  • Session 1
    Outreaching my communities
  • Session 2
    Consulting my communities
  • Session 3
    Involving my communities
  • Session 4
    Collaboration with my communities
  • Session 5
    Sharing Leadership with my communities
  • Keynote Speach
    Prof. Michael Turner

    Professor Michael Turner is the UNESCO Chairholder in Urban Design and Conservation Studies and heads the Research and Innovation Authority at the Bezalel, Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem. In parallel, since 1983 he has a private practice with works in architecture, conservation and urbanism. In research he is involved in urban sustainability, heritage, social inclusion and urban spaces. He is a member of many professional-academic bodies, engaged in many activities at UNESCO and is currently special envoy to the World Heritage Center Director focusing on Culture for Development and the implementation of the UNESCO Recommendation on Historic Urban Landscapes. We are pleased to have him as the intoductory key note speaker for the World Congress as he already made such a presentation for the OWHC at the side event held in Istanbul at the 40th World Heritage Committee Session and we would like to repeat the experience with him.

  • Moderator
    Prof.Richard Mackay, AM

    Richard Mackay is the founder and ‘Diretor of Possibilities’ at Mackay Strategic. Richard has worked in cultural heritage management for more than 30 years. He was a founding Partner of GML Heritage Pty Ltd, one of Autralia’s leading heritage consulting practices. Richard was an ICOMOS cultural advisor at recent Sessions of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, and is the immediate past Chair of the Australian World Heritage Advisory Committee and the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area Advisory Committee. He was deeply involved in the 1st and 2nd Asia-Pacific Regional Conferences of the OWHC, and we are extremely happy to have him as a moderator for our Scientific Day on the 1st of November.

  • Mayors’ Workshop
    Dr. Aylin Orbasli

    Dr. Aylin Orbasli is an independent consultant with over fifteen years UK and international experience in working with and advising on historic buildings and areas in the UK and internationally. She trained as an architect and has specialised in conversation and heritage management.

    Following a book on Architectural Conservation (2008) Aylin continues to research conservation theories, including authenticity in the context of reconstruction and rapid urban development and the broadening remit of cultural heritage and regeneration.

    She was one of the speakers of the 2nd Asia-Pacific Regional Conference of the OWHC, providing enormous insights to the member cities. We are delighted to have her here in Gyeongju again as a one of the main speakers for the Mayors’ Workshop on the 3nd of November.

  • Mayors’ Workshop
    Dr. Ana Pereira Roders

    Ana Pereira Roders is Associate Professor in Heritage and Sustainability at the Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands. She has a wide range of work experience abroad in interdisciplinary cooperation, spanning the fields of architecture, urban planning, law, environmental management and computer sciences. She is the founding co-editor of the Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development [Emerald].

    She contributed to the 2nd Asia-pacific Regional Conference of the OWHC, and she is currently conducting an in-depth research with the member cities about how local governments managing World Heritage cities engage the local communities in the heritage management of the World Heritage properties today.

Call for Project and Processes
The aim of this call is to identify relevant projects and processes implemented in the member cities of the OWHC in order to present them at the 14th World Congress Scientific Day. The selected projects or processes will be integrated into the various sessions dedicated to the theme "Heritage and Communities: tools to engage local communities" to allow debates and exchanges among the participants of the Congress. Apply
A Tribute to
Jean-Paul L’Allier
This prize is awarded every two years by the Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC) to a city that is a member in good standing of the OWHC, and that has distinguished itself by an achievement in terms of conservation, enhancement or management of a property inscribed on the World Heritage List, and that is located on its territory.
Scientific Committee

The Scientific Committee of the 14th World Congress of the Organization of World Heritage Cities is composed of eight people, members of the OWHC.

Those members were selected for their distinctive but complementary expertises and experiences related to World Heritage and the involvement of local communities. Coming from all around the world, their cultural and geographical diversity allow a broad and plural understanding of what kind of tools can be used in order to involve local communities.

The role of this committee is to:

  • Write the scientific program
  • Select the keynote speakers and the speakers
  • Select the contributions
  • Validate the scientific conclusions
  • Ms. Manon Auffray de l’Étang
    • OWHC Programs Administrator
    • Head of the Scientific Committee
  • Ms. Raquel Caetano Ferreira
    • Deputy Mayor of the City of Angra do Heroísmo (Portugal)
  • Mr. Geoffroy Coomans de Brachène
    • Alderman of Urban Planning and Heritage of the City of Brussels (Belgium)
  • Dr. Gerardo Corres Tenorio
    • Architect
    • Director of the FUNAP-MÉXICO
    • Secretary of the Thematic Advisory Council for Cultures of the Municipality of Oaxaca de Juárez (Mexico)
  • Mr. Jahyun Jang
    • Assistant Regional Coordinator of the Secretariat of Asia-Pacific
  • Ms. Paulina Kaplan
    • Head of the Department of Heritage Management of the Municipality of Valparaiso (Chile)
    • Regional Coordinator of the Secretariat of South America
  • Mr. Rafael Pérez de la Concha Camacho
    • Head of Tourism and World Heritage Unit of the City of Cordoba (Spain)
    • Regional Coordinator of the Secretariat of Southern Europe and Mediterranean
  • Mr. Matthias Ripp
    • World Heritage Coordinator of the City of Regensburg (Germany)
    • Regional Coordinator of the Secretariat of Northwest Europe and North America