Woman standing in front of a powerpoint presentation with the title why heritage matters

Valentina Sabucco presenting why heritage matters during the WH:UK summer meeting, in Durham © WH:UK, 2019.  

A two day summer networking meeting “All Together Now – Sustainable World Heritage”, organised by World Heritage UK in partnership with Durham World Heritage Site and heritage consultancy, Purcell, took place in Durham on 6-8th August 2019.

Valentina Sabucco, Secretariat of the United Kingdom National Committee of the Blue Shield (UKBS), opened the first panel, presenting the preliminary findings of her research looking at World Heritage sites (WHSs) within the UK to assess whether they can be registered under special or enhanced protection according to the criteria outlined in the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property int the Event of Armed Conflict and the 1999 Second Protocol. The presentation stressed how this registration would enable the UK to increase its soft power strategy and to better achieve some of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (e.g. targets 11.3, 16.3, 17.9). The presentation also emphasised the necessity of working closely with local communities in order to guarantee that all cultural aspects that communities value are looked after and protected.

The research is supported by the UNESCO Chair in Cultural Property Protection and Peace team at Newcastle University.

During the event, members from several WHSs in the UK, heritage organisations, and heritage consultants discussed a variety of topics with economic and social sustainability as a common denominator. A series of activities (choral evensong in the cathedral, guided tours of Durham WHS, visit to the Open Treasure exhibition and the recently renovated tower of the Cathedral, and a day trip to the Hadrian’s Wall) increased participants’ understanding of the heritage, both tangible and intangible, responsible for the outstanding universal value of these sites. Outstanding universal values are the tangible and intangible elements that make WHSs particularly significant, and of outstanding universal value to the whole of humanity.

The event was attended by approximately 60 people from all over the UK, and proved to be extremely successful in offering a very valuable platform for discussions, exchange of ideas and sharing of best practice.

The 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and both Protocols were ratified by the UK in 2017, in the cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Act 2017. The treaties, which has been widely signed internationally, contains measures to protect cultural property in the event of armed conflict, such as entering sites on the UNESCO held registers for sites under special and enhanced protection.

Group of men and women standing in front of an historic building

Participants to the WH:UK Summer Working Meeting, Durham © Chris Mahon, 2019.

Learn more about Special and Enhanced Protection in our Document Library

Learn more about the 1954 Hague Convention and its two Protocols in our Document library

(Or are you looking to download the symbols for Special and Enhanced Protection?)

Learn more about the World Heritage Convention and World Heritage sites on UNESCOs World Heritage Centre Website,

Learn more about Durham World Heritage site on UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre website, or on the Durham World Heritage website.

Learn more about the Sustainable Development Goals on the SDG website