UKNC logo small
Network Link - Whither World Heritage? - September 2014

Whither World Heritage?

The Okavango Delta in Botswana - the world's 1000th UNESCO World Heritage Site
The UNESCO World Heritage Committee, at its meeting in June, inscribed the Okavanga Delta as the 1000th site on the List, with warm congratulations for Botswana from the assembled Delegates.  Indeed, all new inscriptions were greeted with applause, especially when it was a country's first, such as the Pyu Ancient cities of Myanmar.  In total 26 new sites were inscribed in Doha resulting in plenty of people celebrating on behalf of proud countries.

It is heartening to see heritage held in such high esteem, and some credit for that should go to UNESCO's 1972 World Heritage Convention. But amidst all the celebration, there is scope for reflection.

Often, inscription is seen as a mark of status, rather than an opportunity to contribute to global heritage conservation. Does inscription lead to better management and appreciation of that site? And what is the impact on other sites?

What is the impact of the process on the heritage capacity of the state party and indeed of the world community of heritage professionals? The process of achieving and retaining inscription consumes time and resources: does it attract additional resources, or perhaps divert them from physically caring for heritage?

Should, and indeed can, UNESCO's World Heritage List expand indefinitely? How deep is the global pool of heritage of 'Outstanding Universal Value?' The List is known to be geographically unequal, reflecting (particularly in early years) heritage management capacity as much cultural resource.  It is certainly good to see some redress to the balance, but should it be assumed that every country contains heritage genuinely of both Universal and Outstanding Value? 

Finally, it may be particularly apposite, as anniversaries focus minds on war and on peace, to ask what contribution World Heritage Sites make to UNESCO's mission to build peace in the minds of men and women?

The UKNC will be engaging with some of these questions over the coming months, and will welcome involvement of Network members.

Helen Maclaggan
Culture Director, UK National Commission for UNESCO

In This Issue
UK events
UNESCO events
UNESCO publications
Updates on our work
News from the Network
 UK Events

Upcoming events in the UK


British Hydrological Society National Symposium 

University of Birmingham, 2-4 September 2014    


British Science Festival 

Birmingham, 6-11 September 2014

Safar: The Festival of Popular Arab Cinema by UNESCO prize winning Arab British Centre
Institute of Contemporary Arts, Festival: 9-25 September Exhibition 2 September - 5 October

'Noirwich' Crime Writing Festival

Norwich UNESCO City of Literature, 10-14 September


The Geological Society, Burlington House, 15-16 September


ICOMOS-UK Intangible Cultural Heritage Conference 

The Museum of London Docklands, London, 20 September


Women in Healthcare Science Leadership Symposium 

Royal Pharmaceutical Society, London, 7 October  


Tackling the Great Challenges of the 21st Century - The Two Presidents 

British Academy President Lord Stern and Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society, discuss why the UK's research base is such an important national asset to tackle the challenges of our times

Royal Society, London, 28 October  

Do you have any news or an event that you would like to include in the next Network Link?  




Key forthcoming UNESCO events    

Engineering Week in Africa
1-5 September, South Africa

UK National Commission for UNESCO
Suite 98, 3 Whitehall Court
London, SW1A 2EL
Updates on our work

UKNC joins National Commissions to explore how to measure UNESCO's value to Member States  

The Interregional Meeting of UNESCO's National Commissions took place in Astana, Kazakhstan, last month.

At the meeting, UKNC Director, Professor Kiran Fernandes, shared with National Commissions, the UKNC's plan to update its 2013 report on the Wider Value of UNESCO. The new study will look beyond the financial value, and towards the more intangible value that UNESCO membership affords its Member States.
UKNC Higher Education Director, Professor Kiran Fernandes (far left) presents on the Wider Value of UNESCO at the Interregional Meeting of UNESCO's National Commissions
Discussions focused on strengthening ties between National Commissions and UNESCO field offices, raising UNESCO's visibility at country level and, under the UKNC's leadership, methodologies for portraying the wider value of UNESCO in Member States.

If you would like to feed into the development of the methodology for measuring the Wider Value of UNESCO, then please do get in touch.

UKNC looks to grow its network of experts in the UK     


Whether you are an earth scientist or geologist, an archivist or sustainable development expert, if you are based in the UK and are interested in contributing to the work of UNESCO, then we would like to hear from you.

The UKNC is currently looking to grow its expert base in the UK in order to help it fulfil the specific and targeted role that it plays in the UK and at UNESCO.

Download our new expert network brochure to find out more.
Coventry University joins UNESCO University 'twinning' Network
Coventry University is the latest UK University to join the growing network of 'UNITWIN' universities; a UNESCO initiative where universities from the Global North, 'twin' with those in the Global South, encouraging inter-university cooperation, collaboration and information sharing.

The new UNESCO UNITWIN Network in Humanitarian Engineering and Computing recognises that engineering is a global industry with engineers requiring an understanding of social and cultural issues in parallel with the technical requirements of the project.

The new UNESCO UNITWIN Network aims to place cultural diversity and understanding at the heart of engineering and computing education.  

News from the Network
Highlights from Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme included Glasgow UNESCO City of Music's 'Big Big Sing'

The Glasgow Commonwealth Games Cultural Programme included an initiative of Glasgow UNESCO City of Music to unite the Commonwealth through song.  
'Big Big Sings' were arranged across the UK and throughout Glasgow during the Games where Choirs sang from the Big Big Commonwealth Songbook, comprising of songs from across the Commonwealth.  
Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature launches new fund during International Book Festival

It has been a busy month for Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature which has been actively involved with not only the world famous Arts Festival, but also the world's largest celebration of the written word.

The Edinburgh International Book Festival welcomed over 800 writers from across the world for a packed programme of events that ran over seventeen days.

During the Festival, the Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust launched the Literary Tourism Innovation Fund. This looks to provide both financial support and advice to develop new literary products or experiences in Edinburgh.

'Wall Face': A portrait of the people who protected Hadrian's Wall     


Partners from across Hadrian's Wall have collaborated on a new wall-wide display of portraits of the antiquarians and archaeologists who protected, conserved and revealed the story of Hadrian's Wall.

Hadrian's Wall. Part of the Frontiers of the Roman Empire which has UNESCO World Heritage status Oliver Benn/Getty Images

The 'Wall Face' project involves all 11 Roman sites and museums across Hadrian's Wall, part of the Frontiers of the Roman Empire UNESCO World Heritage Site.  


This is the first time that all the partners have worked together to create a Wall-wide exhibition.


Shakespeare's Globe world tour of Hamlet receives standing ovation at UN HQ

production of Shakespeare's Hamlet, that is scheduled to be performed in every country in the world, received a standing ovation from United Nations diplomats when it performed in the UN's New York headquarters in August.
Cast of Hamlet during a rehearsal at the UN British Consulate-General, Russ Rowland/Associated Press
The Shakespeare's Globe tour, which has applied for UNESCO Patronage with the support of the UKNC, aims to visit 205 nations and territories across seven continents, including Iraq and Syria.

The epic tour departed from London on April 23 - Shakespeare's 450th birthday. Its final performance will be at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre on April 23, 2016; the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death.

Follow the troupe's global tour here.

'Noirwich', UNESCO City of Literature Crime Writing Festival     


Norwich, UNESCO City of Literature
is holding its first 'Noirwich' Crime Writing Festival this month (10-14 September 2014) to celebrate the sharpest noir and crime writing. 

From big events featuring Val McDermid and Sophie Hannah, to crime writing master classes with Simon Brett and Henry Sutton, the City of Literature has something for every reader and writer of crime.

See the full list of events here.

Robert Hooke play to tour UK     

Take the Space theatre company
will tour the UK this autumn with their hit play on the life and times of Robert Hooke, the UK's first professional experimental scientist.
Robert Hooke's Diary, held by the City of London Corporation, was inscribed onto the UK Memory of the World Register this year
His diaries, which chronicle his contribution to 17th century scientific research and the rebuilding of London from the ashes of the Great Fire, were inscribed this year onto the
UK UNESCO Memory of the World Register.

UNESCO stresses the importance of education in girls' rights at UK Girl Summit

Hosted by the UK Government and UNICEF, the Girl Summit - which took place in London on 22 July - aimed to galvanize international support to eliminate female genital mutilation (FGM) and child, early and forced marriage (CEFM) within a generation. Speakers included UK Prime Minister David Cameron and education activist Malala Yousafzai.
UNESCO's Global Monitoring Report looks at the correlation between learning and early marriages
A  Charter adopted at the Summit affirmed the fundamental rights of all girls and women to live free from violence and discrimination and sets out ten actions to further these goals.

"All political leaders here today have stressed the hugely important role of education for averting early childhood marriage," said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova about the Summit.

According to UNESCO's Global Monitoring Report, if all girls had a secondary school education in sub-Saharan Africa and South and West Asia, then child marriage would fall by 64% and early births by 59%.

UNESCO committed to intensify high-level policy advocacy to keep girls in school and increase support to Member States to promote safe learning environments for girls.

UNESCO stands up for science in the Sustainable Development Goals

A recent intervention from UNESCO saw that some of the science goals, that were originally dropped from the 'zero draft' of the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were reinstated in the outcome document of the SDGs. This is the most recent working document that will be presented by the Open Working Group to the UN General Assembly in September for further refinement.
Key science clauses were originally dropped as delegates concentrated on other areas of the document, including poverty, energy and food but UNESCO, organising a ministerial breakfast in New York highlighted the importance of science for sustainable development.

The current working draft now includes a commitment to help developing countries strengthen their scientific and technological capacities to move towards more sustainable patterns of consumption and production. It also commits to boosting international cooperation on science and technology, technology transfer and knowledge sharing; getting the UN Technology Bank up and running by 2017; and enhancing capacity building support to developing countries on development data and statistical capacity.

Read more about UNESCO's contribution to the development of the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals.
UNESCO releases its collection of traditional music

From the Civil War music of Afghanistan to the musical traditions of the Karakalpaks in Uzbekistan, UNESCO's rich collection of global folk music is available to stream for free online. 
UNESCO Collection of Traditional Music from around the world UNESCO

Originally published between 1961 and 2003, the UNESCO Collection of Traditional Music comprises of more than 125 albums from around the world.

UNESCO established a new partnership with Smithsonian Institution in 2009 to make the collection available to the general public.

Since April, UNESCO has released two albums per week to listen to online.