It was concluded in Ljubljana, the European project Sustcult ” Achieving sustainability through an integrated approach to the management of cultural heritage “, who wanted to investigate the possibility of including the heritage management, in relation to the development of sites to be protected or already protected by law and regulations. The project, headed by Nova Gorica University and the city of Venice for a total of 12 partners, has made use of the UNESCO joint partnership. At the closing meeting, we discussed the possibility to refinance this project, which is certainly a milestone for the participants.The challenge has been to strengthen cultural heritage management to drive local economies. For us, it is interesting because many of these heritage management plans, for the first time, analyze together environmental and cultural issues.This project has helped to fund some management plans of UNESCO world heritage sites, including one for Ohrid, Macedonia region. The management plan for the sites is required according to Functional Article 5 of the Convention, concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (1972). The aim is to integrate the heritage protection into development plans programmes and also to give capacity building and training for local managers and stakeholders, in a “learning by doing ” approach. In the closure report, in Ljubljana, it has said that the system management is very urgent, and before that, it is urgent to build capacity building. We analyze here one of the first plans, which is already law, for Ohrid region, in Macedonia. In the next post, we will also present the cases of other European participating partners. Ohrid region is only one of the 29 regions in the world, included in the list of mixed natural and cultural heritage, with the ancient Lake Ohrid that is a distinctive feature in the region, populated with living fossils from the tertiary system. Is it possible to save and at the same time to develop a territory with artistic and historic vestiges, recognized of outstanding universal value (OUV)? How to preserve this evidence for future generations? The conservation becomes ecological, also to the extent that you are monitoring and evaluating the changes of the monuments, stones and nature. Furthermore, the project SUSTCULT is served not only to share a common methodology, but also for the inclusion of the Ohrid Municipality in the international system of cooperation and assistance to the International Protection of the heritage. The question is: will this stakeholder’s engagement persist? How sustainable are these methods? The answer lies in trying to set by ourselves the goal of using common and recognized valuation models too, a bit as it is happening in the education for sustainable development (ESD) in schools and universities. Otherwise, you risk that changes in management policy, wars, natural disasters, will delete or invalidate these projects, despite the fact their importance.In the management plan for the natural and cultural heritage of Ohrid Region some identified factors and risks are already threatening the values, as an example the insufficient awareness by citizens, the actors of the local development. Further to the lack of awareness and communication, even more insidious is the lack of understanding of the potential for economic development of places of cultural values and heritage. In the latter, it helps us much more the ability to preserve the monuments and together the nature. The protection of nature, linked to the forest fires, the deforestation and the wastewaters, and environmental concerns related to the eutrophication of the Ohrid Lake can help to educate people and bring them closer to complex issues such as the monuments’ protection. Not always, in fact, we have learned, feelings of people’s identity and heritage’s protection agree, in some cases, they may lead to conflict, especially if in contrast with values and socio-economic activities long time established.
For further details on Sustcult project: www.sustcult.eu