UNESCO Category 2 Centre on World Natural Heritage Management and Training for Asia and the Pacific Region
Natural heritage conservation in Asia and the Pacific region has been facing many challenges in recent years as a result of extreme pressure exerted on natural ecosystems. These pressures are a consequence of high density of the population, risk of catastrophic disasters, constant economic growth and persistent poverty. As shown by the outcome of the second cycle of Periodic Reporting (2012) conducted by the UNESCO World Heritage Centre on the state of conservation of World Heritage properties in Asia and the Pacific, capacity building for World Heritage conservation and management remains a key concern in the region. In particular, very few countries are equipped with proper natural heritage training facilities.
To address the above situation, the Government of India in September 2012, submitted to the Director-General, UNESCO a “Request for Action” towards the establishment of a Centre of Excellence on Natural World Heritage for Asia and the Pacific region at the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), an internationally acclaimed institution in the field of natural resource conservation located in Dehradun, as a Category 2 Centre under the auspices of UNESCO.
In December 2012, a feasibility study was undertaken by a UNESCO expert, including a mission to India, to assess the proposal in the light of the requirements for Category 2 Centres as set out in the integrated comprehensive strategy (35 C/22 and Corr.). The feasibility study confirmed the great potential for the establishment of the proposed Centre, which would fill a gap in the region and would benefit from the extraordinary facilities and long experience of the WII, including at the international level. The Director- General UNESCO accepted the proposal for the establishment of a Centre for World Natural Heritage Management and Training for Asia and the Pacific region in Dehradun, India, as a Category 2 Centre under the auspices of UNESCO and observed that establishing the proposed Centre at the WII could be of great benefit to UNESCO, to Member States in the region, and to the international community. The UNESCO General Conference 37 C/Resolution 47 dated 19 November 2013 granted approval to the proposal.
The UNESCO has designated 98 International and Regional Institutes and Centres as Category 2 under the auspices of UNESCO. Though not legally part of the Organization, these Institutes and Centres are associated with UNESCO through formal arrangements approved by the General Conference. They have been selected based on the strength of their specialization in one of UNESCO's fields of competence. Through capacity-building, knowledge sharing and research, they provide a valuable and unique contribution to the implementation of UNESCO's strategic programme objectives for the benefit of Member States. Further, the UNESCO World Heritage Centre has established 8 such Centres in China, Norway, South Africa, Bahrain, Mexico, Italy, Brazil and Spain. The Centre in WII is the world's first centre dealing with Natural World Heritage.
The centre's mission is to strengthen implementation of World Heritage Convention in Asia and the Pacific Region by building the capacity of all those professionals and bodies involved with world natural heritage site inscription, protection, conservation and management in Asia and the Pacific Region, through training, research, dissemination of information and network building.
The overall objective is to focus on natural heritage conservation issues with the aim to:
contribute to the strengthening of capacities in the management of Natural World Heritage in the region
contribute to achieving a more balanced representation of properties from Asia and the Pacific on the World Heritage List
raise awareness among the general public and the youth in particular of the importance of Natural World Heritage and the need to protect it
foster international cooperation on Natural World Heritage initiatives.
To achieve the above objectives, the Centre will perform the following functions:
conduct short- and long-term capacity-building activities, including workshops, courses and international conferences
undertake research on identified priority areas related to Natural World Heritage protection and management, with particular focus on models of community participation
develop and maintain a documentation centre accessible to the public on Natural World Heritage issues relevant to the region
implement programmes for the exchange of experts with other regional resource centres and facilitate the development of a World Heritage site managers' regional network and coordinate its activities with the States Parties to the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, the World Heritage Centre, the Advisory Bodies of the 1972 Convention and the network of existing Category 2 Centres related to World Heritage.
Dr. Dhananjai Mohan, IFS
Director, UNESCO C2C and Wildlife Institute of India
Phone: 0135-2646101, 2640910
Email: dmohan [at] wii [dot] gov [dot] in
Email: dwii [at] wii [dot] gov [dot] in ; contactc2cindia [at] wii [dot] gov [dot] in feedbackc2cindia [at] wii [dot] gov [dot] inUNESCO C2C Brochure (7.41 mb)
Last Updated: March 17, 2020