Invitation to NGO Forum

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Invitation
International Forum
NGOs in Support of the World Heritage Properties
June 22-24, 2012
St. Petersburg, Russia

The 36th annual Session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee will be held in June 24-July 6, 2012 in St. Petersburg, Russia. The International Forum will be held before that meeting to present the position of civil society, NGOs and experts on problems with the World Heritage Properties to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee Members and the broader public.

The Forum organizers:

  • Greenpeace Russia
  • Green Wave
  • Russian-German Bureau of Ecological Information
  • All-Russian Society of historical and cultural monuments protection
    (St Petersburg’s Department)
  • Centre for German and European Studies
  • Expertise Centre ECOM

Among the Forum participants there will be representatives of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee and World Heritage Center, International experts of IUCN and ICOMOS, representatives of international, national and regional NGOs and other civil organizations. We also expect members of the official delegations to take part in the Forum.

Forum includes two separate programs (with the general plenary session) — on natural and cultural heritage. This letter is addressed to NGO and civic initiatives active in the protection of cultural heritage.

Aim of the Forum
The inscription of a cultural or natural object in the UNESCO World Heritage List is a testimony of giving it the highest in the world protective status. But it is not always and not in every country the absolute guarantee that henceforth it would be completely protected from the attempts of changing or lowering this status anyhow.
Sometimes it occurs due to the global climate change, sometimes it is related to the natural changes and catastrophes, but in many cases dramatically high negative impact is determined by the imperfection of the national legislation in the sphere of valuable natural and cultural objects protection, the high corruption level and cupidity of potential investors, unwillingness of the correspondent authorities to organize a really working and effective system of control. In a number of cases it became possible to terminate the attempts of a complete or partial destruction of cultural and natural monuments only due to the efforts of the civil society.
The Forum’s aim is to attract the attention of the global community to numerous problems related to the protection of the World Heritage properties, to initiate a dialogue between civil organizations and the World Heritage Committee, to exchange experience of successful solving the heritage properties’ conservation problems.

Participation
If you are interested in the participation in the Forum, please fill the Registration form here: https://spbforum.wordpress.com/registration-en/
The deadline for the registration is May 14 (but we strongly recommend you register as soon as possible).

The answer about the possibility of your participation will be given no later than May 16.

If you plan a presentation, please consider the following possible topics:

  • Your case: positive and negative experiences of the sites protection
  • Practices of the control system of World Heritage properties: types of structures, public participation in governance structures objects
  • Need for the national and international networking of NGOs working on the sites protection
  • Economic mechanisms of the World Heritage properties protection: best practices and experiences
  • Common advocacy on the local, regional, national and global levels
  • Preparing for the inclusion of the object in the list of World Heritage sites
  • You can offer your topic related to the objectives of the Forum.

Participants are encouraged to submit papers (no longer then 70000 characters) in English and (or) Russian language until June 10. Please specify the title, author’s full name, affiliation, city, country (e-mail — optional).

The Forum will adopt the final Resolution, which will be presented to participants of the 36th session of UNESCO World Heritage Committee.
If you would like to include in the Resolution some issues about your sites, send your proposals until June 10. The proposals for the Resolution draft should be prepared in English (for participants from Russia we recommend to send also a Russian-language version). While preparing proposals for the Resolutions, we recommend to take into consideration the UNESCO resolutions format (see for example http://whc.unesco.org/archive/2011/whc11-35com-20e.pdf)

Conference papers and the Final Resolution will be published at the end of the Forum in English or Russian and immediately distributed among the participants of the World Heritage Committee session as well as to a wide audience (including delegations of other States Parties to the Convention and journalists).
The papers from the NGOs, who do not plan to participate in the Forum, can be also accepted for publication.

Working languages
Russian and English (simultaneous translation will be provided).

Terms of participation
Participation in the Forum and publication of papers are free. All other expenses are to be covered by participants. Currently, the Forum organizing committee is seeking for opportunity to partially cover travel and / or residence costs for Russian participants.
More information about the Forum on the website https://spbforum.wordpress.com or per e-mail: spbforum.en@gmail.com

Additional information
Different hotels in St. Petersburg can be booked at the www.hotelbooking.com. If you need a help in arranging you accommodation, please write about it. Information about the possibilities of accommodation in St. Petersburg will be also posted on Forum website. If you need help with accommodation matters, please let us know.
We also recommended to the Forum participants to register as observers to take part in the World Heritage Committee session: http://whc.unesco.org/en/sessions/36COM/
The Organizing Committee of the Forum on the natural heritage: worldheritage@greenpeace.ru

General Information about the 36th session of the World Heritage Session: http://www.whc36-russia2012.ru/

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Международный форум "НКО в защиту объектов всемирного наследия" // International Forum "Non-Governmental Organizations in support of the World Heritage propeties".
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