30 March 2007
The UNESCO Almaty Office is organizing, in cooperation with the National Commission of the Republic of Tajikistan for UNESCO and the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, a Sub-Regional Workshop to discuss the inscription of Central Asian Silk Roads sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List in Dushanbe, from 16 to 21 April 2007.In spite of its remarkable historical background and numerous historic/cultural sites in the sub-region, Central Asia remains to be one of the most under-represented regions on the World Heritage List: to date, the sub-region, with 5 countries, has only 8 cultural sites already inscribed, while today, there are 830 sites on the World Heritage List. At the present time, there are no properties in Kyrgyzstan or Tajikistan on the World Heritage List.
The sub-region has many cultural sites and historic towns along the “Silk Roads” that previously flourished as meeting points of different cultures. Recently, important efforts were made by the State Parties of the sub-region and donors for the conservation and promotion of those historic sites: several of them have already been inscribed on the World Heritage List, such as Merv (Turkmenistan), Bukhara and Samarkand (Uzbekistan). A number of other remarkable sites of World Heritage potential, such as Otrar (Kazakhstan) and Ajina Tepa (Tajikistan), have also benefited from technical and financial assistance of the international community.
“It is evident that the ‘Silk Roads’ nomination is one of the most promising concepts to correctly recognize the heritage value of numerous cultural sites in Central Asia”, says Mr Yuri Peshkov, Culture Specialist at the UNESCO Almaty Office. However, no concrete action has been taken to elaborate a strategy on how to develop this important concept in order to appropriately represent the cultural heritage in the sub-region on the World Heritage List.
The potential for sites linked to the Silk Roads within Central Asia, China, and countries further west, to be considered together as a serial World Heritage site, has been discussed for several years. In particular, several expert workshops have been held in Central Asia and China since 2002, during which Central Asian and Chinese experts elaborated, together with UNESCO assistance, a strategy for the Silk Roads World Heritage nomination.
Most recently, a UNESCO Sub-regional Workshop was held from 25-31 October 2006 in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, during which it was agreed that practical guidance and a conceptual framework paper (hereafter called “Concept Paper”) would be developed to assist Central Asian countries with the World Heritage nomination of cultural heritage properties along the Silk Roads.
The present workshop will bring together the relevant authorities of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, China, as well as international experts from UNESCO and the International Council for Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), with the following objectives:
- to agree upon and adopt the Concept Paper and strategic approach for the serial World Heritage nomination of the “Silk Roads”;
- to identify potential sites for the serial nomination;
- to elaborate on the procedure for the serial nomination; and
- to establish the political commitment of the States Parties in the sub-region regarding the serial nomination
Related programmes: UNESCO World Heritage Centre