Blog Post

Training Course in Amman on Compliance with the Obligations to the World Heritage Convention

The requirements for the inscription of a site on UNESCO’s World Heritage List are much more complex than they were a few years ago. There are a growing number of heritage professionals who assist the teams engaged in the preparation of nomination files and the navigation through the different steps and layers of the process. Although this professional assistance is intended for the immediate purpose of inscribing a site on the World Heritage List, site managers require greater training to implement World Heritage requirements to assure continuing safeguarding of heritage sites. Recognizing this gap between the World Heritage nomination process and its long term application, UNESCO’s Amman office organized a training course on the obligations for complying with the World Heritage Convention, aimed at site managers, especially for the sites that are either inscribed or on the World Heritage Tentative list for Jordan.

World Monuments Fund participated in the UNESCO training program by providing teaching materials and two lectures, the first on the preparation of a site management plan (which is a mandatory element of the nomination process), and the second on its implementation. Colleagues from the World Heritage Center in Paris and Jordanian professionals currently engaged in the nomination process of the Baptism site, on the Jordan River, also took part in the training course, which was held at the Department of Antiquities in Amman on September 19 and 20, with the participation of approximately 20 site managers of both cultural and natural sites. The topics addressed during the course included the World Heritage Convention and its implementation, the nomination process, the mandatory requirements (criteria for nomination, concepts of integrity and authenticity, definitions of boundaries and buffer zones, preparation and implementation of conservation and management plans), and the obligations following inscriptions (periodic reporting, state of conservation reports, etc.). The lectures were conducted using case studies from Jordan, in particular those concerning the sites of Qusayr ‘Amra (already inscribed, but missing defined boundaries and a management plan, which is being developed now with WMF’s assistance), and of the Baptism, on the Jordan River, which is being prepared for nomination.

The lectures were lively and accompanied by engaging discussions, notable for the willingness of participants to share their experiences.. I also gained from this experience: although I have known Jordan and its heritage professionals for years, it was the first time that I had an opportunity to see them all in one room (and some of them for the first time), and to be able to have with them an open exchange of information on the conservation of cultural and natural heritage in Jordan.