On Sunday, June 1st 2018, the Arab Regional Center for World Heritage hosted a meeting that brought together the delegations of Arab member states of the 1972 World Heritage Convention and the participants of the 42nd Session of the World Heritage Committee hosted and chaired by the Kingdom of Bahrain until July 4th in Manama.
The meeting was attended by Dr. ShadiaTouqan, Director of the Arab Regional Center for World Heritage, Ms. Nada El Hassan, Head of the Arab World Unit in the World Heritage Center, and a number of Arab Ambassadors to the UNESCO. The objective of the meeting was to acquaint the audience with the latest developments on the “Periodic Reports’ Questionnaire” carried out by the World Heritage Center as an exercise aimed at providing a detailed report on the state of conservation and management of World Heritage sites in the Arab region and the challenges facing them.
In the periodic report exercise, the world is divided into five regions, including the Arab region. Each year, the Center works in cooperation with Member States of the World Heritage Convention to prepare a report on World Heritage sites in one of these areas.
Dr. ShadiaTouqan expressed her delight in taking part in the meeting, especially after two new Arab sites have been included on the World Heritage List, stressing that the Regional Center is ready to cooperate with the World Heritage Center in preparing the periodic report of the Arab region.
In the same context, Mrs. Nada Al Hassan expressed her thanks to the Arab Regional Center for World Heritage, saying that its role is key in the conservation and preservation of the Arab world heritage. She pointed out that although the Arab region currently has 84 UNESCO World Heritage sites, including 5 natural sites, the Arab countries should work to promote the nomination of more natural sites to the World Heritage List in the coming years.
The reports are particularly important as they give the World Heritage Committee and the World Heritage Center an overview of the state of conservation and management of a wide range of sites, since the World Heritage Committee meeting cannot address the situation of all sites whose number exceeds 1,000.
Nada Al-Hassan also spoke about the periodic reports and emphasized the importance of cooperation by all parties in the preparation of these reports, adding that all World Heritage site directors, the UNESCO regional offices, the local community, and the UNESCO class II centers are all involved in the questionnaire.
The first periodic report on the state of conservation and management of World Heritage sites was prepared in 1999, and the second followed in 2010. Work is under way in cooperation with those concerned in the Arab world to prepare the third round of periodic reports in the Arab region.