Conference overview

The 3rd Huangshan Dialogue on 

UNESCO Sites and Sustainable Development, organized by the International Centre on Space Technologies for Natural and Cultural Heritage (HIST) under Auspices of UNESCO, and hosted by Mt. Huangshan Administrative Committee, took place on 31 October – 3 November 2018 at Tunxi District, Huangshan City, Anhui Province, China. Ms. Flavia Schlegel, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences, Dr. Xu Zhihong, Chairman of Man and Biosphere (MAB) Chinese National Committee and Academician of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Mr. Yang Chao, Director-General of Department of Natural Reserve Management under State Forestry and Grassland Administration, Mr. Liu Yang, Deputy Division Director of Department of World Cultural Heritage under State Administration of Cultural Heritage, and Mr. Liu Xiaohua, Executive Deputy Mayor of Huangshan City attended the opening ceremony and gave speeches. 

In addition to representatives from UNESCO, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), this Dialogue also attracted more than 50 international experts, scholars, and managers from about 20 nations including the US, Tunisia, Thailand, France, Korea, Indonesia, Italy, Canada, Malaysia, the UK, Pakistan, Netherlands, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Germany, Tajikistan, Tanzania, and Cameroon. Domestically, over 130 representatives from state departments, local government, scientific institutions, universities, World Heritage sites, World Biosphere Reserves, UNESCO Global Geoparks, and relevant offices attended the Dialogue.

The theme of the 3rd Huangshan Dialogue is “UNESCO sites facilitating sustainable development”. There are 5 sessions during the 3-day conference: Monitoring Methodologies and Technologies Beneficial for the Sustainability of UNESCO Sites, Disaster Risk Assessment and Mitigation for UNESCO Sites, Multi-stakeholder Engagement for Sustainable Development of UNESCO Sites, Sustainable Tourism of UNESCO Sites, and Cooperation and Common Development among UNESCO Sites along the One Belt and One Road. Speakers and participants actively shared their experiences and information during and after panel discussionthe conference, exploring method of supporting the SDGs through working on UNESCO designated sites and ultimately achieve the 2018-2021 goal expected outcomes for 2018-2021 proposed by the Natural Sciences at UNESCO. 

Before the closure of this Dialogue, the Organizing Committee announced one significant deliverable –– Huangshan Consensus, which emphases the huge potential of space technology on air-space integration serving UNESCO SDGs. It also calls upon nations along the One Belt and One Road to launch cooperation on application of space technologies on sustainable development of heritage sites, enhance information and cultural exchanges, actively promote the sustainable development mode of Huangshan, and eventually turn UNESCO designated sites into models of UN sustainable development project.  

The other important result of the 3rd Huangshan Dialogue is Letter of Intent Cooperation on UNESCO Designated Sites Along the One Belt and One Road. Policy makers and site managers of world heritage from Italy, Canada, the Netherlands, Malaysia, Tunisia, Cameroon, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Tanzania signed the letter and endorsed establishment of a multilateral platform for communication on sustainable development of UNESCO designated sites.

Huangshan Consensus

Huangshan Dialogue was the first ever-forum that addressed the conservation, monitoring, management and sustainable development challenges faced by UNESCO designated World Heritage sites, World Biosphere Reserves and Global Geoparks. As of October 2018, there are more than 1700 places that have been granted these designations; a very small number of sites such as Huangshan Mountains and Shennongjia of China and the Jeju Island of Korea have been recognized under all of the above mentioned three of UNESCO designations.

The International Centre on Space Technologies for Natural and Cultural Heritage (HIST) under the auspices of UNESCO and hosted by the Aerospace Information Research Institute (AIR) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in partnership with the Huangshan Administrative Committee launched the “Huangshan Dialogue on UNESCO Sites for Sustainable Development” and convened the first Dialogue under the theme: “Application of Space Technologies for UNESCO Designated Sites” from 26 to 30 May 2014 in Huangshan City. The “Huangshan Declaration” issued by the first Dialogue called for greater application of space technologies for the conservation, monitoring, management and sustainable development of UNESCO designated sites and called upon UNESCO, HIST and AIR to collaborate to build capacity in less developed UNESCO Member States for the effective use of such technologies.

HIST, AIR and Huangshan Administrative Committee joined hands once again to organize the 2ndHuangshan Dialogue on the theme “UNESCO Sites, Climate Change and Space Technologies” from 11 to 15 September 2016, in the same venue where the first Dialogue was convened. The second Dialogue was convened within a year of the adoption of the seventeen sustainable development goals (SDGs) by the UN (September 2015) and the Paris Climate Agreement by Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) (December 2015). The 2nd Huangshan Dialogue attracted wide-ranging discussions on the potential of UNESCO designated sites to serve as research, pilot and demonstration areas for meeting goals, objectives and targets of global agendas. The outcome of Huangshan Dialogue 2, i.e. “Huangshan Recommendation” , among others, stressed this important contribution that UNESCO designated sites could make through experimenting with the attainment of globally set targets and indicators of SDGs, in particular SDG 13 to combat climate change, at the local and context-specific scale.

3rd Huangshan Dialogue

HIST, AIR and the Huangshan Administrative Committee continue to honor their commitment to UNESCO and its partners such as ICOMOS, IUCN and ICCROM, as well as to participants of the first and the second dialogue by convening the 3rdHuangshan Dialogue once again in Huangshan City, Anhui Province, China, from 31 October to 3 November 2018 on the theme: “UNESCO sites facilitating sustainable development”. Around 50 international participants from UNESCO and its field offices, their advisory bodies such as IUCN and ICOMOS, category 2 centers, and countries of USA, Tunisia, Thailand, France, Korea and Indonesia, Italy, Canada, Malaysia, UK, Pakistan, the Netherlands, Tajikistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Germany, Tanzania, Cameroon participated in the 3rdHuangshan Dialogue. About 130 domestic representatives from the central and local governmental departments, research institutions, universities, UNESCO designated sites in China and the sites which could be nominated contributed to discussions and deliberations of the 3rd Huangshan Dialogue.

Keynote presentations and panel discussions held during the 3rd Huangshan Dialogue covered the following issues: (i) Monitoring Methodologies and Technologies Beneficial for the Sustainability of UNESCO Sites; (ii) Disaster risk assessment and mitigation for UNESCO sites; (iii) Multi-stakeholder engagement for sustainable development of UNESCO sites; (iv) Sustainable Tourism in UNESCO sites, and (v) Co-operation and common development among UNESCO sites along the One Belt and One Road (OBOR). The multitude of views expressed and deliberated upon and the insights emerged during the sessions of the Dialogue on November 1-2 converged resulting in the participants reaching the following consensus: