The UNESCO Dolomites Foundation in Paris

On 31 March the President of the UNESCO Dolomites Foundation, Richard Theiner, and Director Marcella Morandini met with Mechtild Rössler, UNESCO Director of the Division for Heritage, in Paris.

It was an important meeting, anticipating the visit of the IUCN inspector this autumn. Theiner and Morandini were in the French capital to deliver the Overall Management Strategy to Rössler, the document which responds to the recommendations made by World Heritage Committee when the site was inscribed on the List. It pursues the objective of shared governance of the World Heritage, based on the concept of networked management and encouraging coordination of the activities among the provinces, regions, Operating Networks, parks, Supporters, etc..

The Dolomites are a real workshop of ideas and experiences for UNESCO too, as the territory is divided into 9 zones and 5 provinces. Looking at it from this angle – commented Mechtild Rössler at the end of the meeting – the Foundation’s management of this natural heritage could be an interesting example to follow”.

The Overall Management Strategy defines the natural environmental as being central to social and economic issues and cooperation is the key to trying out innovative policies for conscious growth. It is a concerted document which promotes a shift from passive conservation of the environment to widespread environmental responsibility (the Protected Landscape Approach). It is a flexible, dynamic tool, a set of strategies and objectives that can be tailored to the different places and verified over time, based on a process which embraces mediation and compensation between those involved.

The meeting also provided an opportunity to illustrate some of the activities currently underway. Their talks touched on the participatory process #Dolomites2040, the UNESCO Dolomites LabFest – the UNESCO Dolomites festival, NING – the online platform for Supporters, the project to map the Dolomites footpaths on Google Street View, and a host of other activities which have been implemented thanks to the well-established synergies primarily between the provinces and regions involved in the UNESCO inscription.