II Meeting of European World Heritage Associations
THE SOCIAL ROLE OF HERITAGE
Segovia, 20 and 21 October 2016
The Asociaciones Europea para la Defensa del Patrimonio Histórico (European Associations for the Protection of Historical Heritage), meeting in Segovia, under the 1972 World Heritage Convention and considering the 5Cs strategy and in particular the 5C on the involvement of communities
- That the transition from the right of heritage towards the right to World Heritage is an indisputable reality and a clear reflection of the social role of World Heritage.
- That the definition itself of World Heritage is the result of a social construction: society appropriates heritage properties and takes ownership of them because they have a social role: everyone has the right to World Heritage
- This social construction also generates deep-seated ties in our collective memory, transforming these properties into symbols with a physical, social and mental dimension: they are our memory and social ties connected to space. World Heritage therefore plays a relevant part in resisting the consequences of a globalisation that imposes uniformity.
- That World Heritage should be understood as both a cultural resource and a living process. The main component of World Heritage, and therefore of the properties themselves, are those people who value them, look after them, identify with them and form part of the spirit of the property: inhabited heritage– lived heritage.
- That the right of everyone to World Heritage entails social responsibility (as well as individual and personal responsibility), requiring a diverse range of discourses about how to approach the issues of conserving and protecting heritage properties.
- That the management of World Heritage is key to its conservation and protection. As a source of economic, cultural and spiritual wealth, sustainability and solidarity should be key concerns in heritage management. This should translate into ensuring its universal accessibility as well social participation and involvement in protection and conservation.
- That awareness raised via information and teaching about World Heritage and values acts as a social tool for overcoming cultural differences. In addition, social participation and a new type of governance must drive new forms of public information and dissemination, education and awareness-raising, and a new type of creativity that is inspired by heritage.
Based on these points, in order to build on the right of everyone to World Heritage and on the experiences, presentations and good practices presented by the countries participating in this II Meeting of European World Heritage Associations, we propose the following:
STRATEGIES, TOOLS AND MECHANISMS
- Consensus strategies formulated via management plans for World Heritage properties must achieve the necessary synergies with urban planning and management and environmental and social welfare policies, and must also be closely tied in with sustainable tourism strategies.
- These plans should be managed by permanent and qualified management bodies.
- The proper use of World Heritage properties and their social uses must take into account integration and cohesion arising from intergenerational solidarity, and should oppose the various forms of gentrification, outsourcing and the removal of people from World Heritage Sites.
- A prior assessment of the impact on World Heritage is also required, and this must cover:
- The limits on reception capacity (clear, exact limits that are known to all).
- Assessment of choices of action and simulations of the outcomes through the ICOMOS evaluation methodology of impact on Heritage.
- Public information about the projects to ensure social participation in and general knowledge of decisions made from the initial stages.
- Plans regarding heritage properties and their sustainability indicators act as a tool for assessing actions and their effect in the short-, medium and long term
- Improve the coordination between heritage and urban aspects that are so intrinsically linked from the perspective of the landscape: a World Heritage Site never just exists within its own limits.
- Establish permanent bodies for participation at the competent government level and incorporate educational, information, outreach and training strategies that will enable effective social participation that preserves people’s right to heritage, and more specifically, to World Heritage.