Space tech to monitor World Heritage Sites focus of UN event


An exhibtion on space technology towards sustainbale development of World Heritage Sites was held in Fuzhou for the 44th Session of World Heritage Committee. [Photo by Wang Kaihao/China Daily]

A side event of the 44th Session of UNESCO World Heritage Committee was held on Monday focusing on the adoption of space technology on the monitoring and conservation of World Heritage Sites.

The International Centre on Space Technologies for Natural and Cultural Heritage (HIST) under the Auspices of UNESCO and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) jointly hosted this online sideline of the session.

The theme of the side event was Space Technologies Towards Sustainable Development of World Heritage. This event was dedicated to exploring ways and means to strengthening the partnership between World Heritage and sustainable development during HIST's second decade of operations, which coincides with the remaining years of the 2030 Agenda on the 17 sustainable development goals adopted by the UN in 2015. The timing of this event is also critical as the world contemplates the adoption of a far-reaching Post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

More than 100 delegates from the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, its advisory bodies and category 2 centers, and other international organizations as well as research institutions, heritage sites and governmental agencies from 16 UNESCO member states were present to discuss how emerging advanced technologies such as space technologies could be used for the benefit of the sustainable development of UNESCO-designated sites.

HIST and IUCN will also enhance cooperation in nomination, monitoring, evaluation and capacity building for the heritage sites.

Guo Huadong, an academician of Chinese Academy of Sciences and director of HIST, delivered a keynote speech to introduce successful examples of space technology in studies, evaluation, management, protection and capacity building on World Heritage Sites.

During the side event, participants called for more stakeholders across the globe to join in the next decade of action to employ these technologies to promote academic exchanges, conduct international research and enhance capacity building, in particular for the developing countries, biodiversity conservation and climate change action, thus contributing to the implementation of the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, Strategy for Risk Reduction at World Heritage Properties, and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other international landmark agreements.

The extended 44th Session of UNESCO World Heritage Committee is being hosted in Fuzhou, Fujian province, from July 16 to 31.