A HIST Delegation led by Mr. Hong Tianhua, Executive Deputy Director and comprising Prof. Natarajan Ishwaran, State Recruited Expert of China at HIST and Ms. Huo Sijia, Program Coordinator, attended the 39th session of the World Heritage Committee from 28 June to 3 July, 2015. The World Heritage Committee session continued till 8 July 2015.
During the opening session of the Committee in the evening of 28th June, the Director General of UNESCO launched, in collaboration with several international partners, a coalition for World Heritage which will strengthen protection of World Heritage sites in regions of armed conflict such as those in Iraq, Libya, Mali, Syria and Yemen and the restoration and recovery of sites that have been impacted by natural disasters, like those severely impacted by the recent earthquakes in Nepal. The presentation made by UNESCO for the launch of the coalition for World Heritage included satellite images made available by HIST to the World Heritage Centre on some World Heritage sites of Syria.
At the reception that followed the inaugural session during the evening of the 28th June, Mr. Hong, Executive Deputy Director of HIST, had the opportunity to have an informal conversation with Ms. Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO. Mr. Hong informed the Director-General on HIST activities of the past and some that are planned for the near future. He took the opportunity to brief the Director General of the success of the 1st Huangshan Dialogue on UNESCO Sites and Sustainable Development with the theme of “Application of Space Technologies for World Heritage, World Biosphere Reserves and Global Geoparks” convened in Huansghan City from 26 to 30 May 2014 and invite Ms. Bokova to attend the 2nd Huangshan Dialogue to be hosted jointly by HIST and the Huangshan City Administration in September 2016. The Director General was pleased to note a forum focusing on all categories of UNESCO recognized places and their contributions to addressing and resolving global environmental and developmental issues and expressed her wish to attend the 2nd Huangshan Dialogue. Mr. Hong will follow up on his invitation further with the Office of the Director-General of UNESCO in order to ensure the attendance and participation of the Director General of UNESCO at the 2nd Huangshan Dialogue, tentatively scheduled to be convened in Huangshan City from 12 to 14 September 2016.
Mr. Hong represented HIST at two side events convened during the 39th session of the World Heritage Committee:
• A panel discussion on space technologies for World Heritage conservation and management jointly organized by the UNOSAT program of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the Cultural Sector of UNESCO during 1300-1400 hours on 30 June 2015; and
• Discussions with all other UNESCO Category 2 Centers contributing to research, training and capacity building of personnel for the conservation, monitoring, management and sustainable development of World Heritage sites held on 3 July 2015 from 1845 to 1930 hours.
Participants at both sessions were interested by the work undertaken by HIST. Mr. Hong informed participants attending both sessions on the 2nd Huangshan Dialogue to be convened by HIST and Huangshan Administration in September 2016 and welcomed their participation. In particular, Mr. Hong informed the participants attending the joint session with UNSAT/UNITAR of the HIST/AIR international symposium for promoting international co-operation along China’s Maritime Silk Road to be convened in Sanya, Hainan, China during 25 to 27 November 2015 and invited UNESCO and UNSAT/UNITAR representatives to participate in that event. The UNESCO representative, Ms. Vesna Vujicic and the representative of ICCROM, Dr. Gamini Wijesuriya, who co-chaired the information sharing meeting of UNESCO category 2 Centers informed all Center representatives of a meeting of all UNESCO Category 2 Centres and UNESCO Chairs focusing on World Heritage during December 2015 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France. With regard to the organization of meetings of all UNESCO Category 2 Centers dedicated to World Heritage worldwide, the new Category 2 Centre located at the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), in Dehra Dun, India and HIST expressed their wish to host such meetings in the future.
Prof. Ishwaran participated as a panelist at a discussion organized by the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) working for World Heritage conservation on “Extractive Industries and World Heritage sites” from 1315 to 1445 hours on 2 July 2015.

Mr Hong meets Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO
Mr Hong meets T.Badman
Mr Hong makes a report at side event
Discussions with all other UNESCO Category 2 Centers