International Conference: The implementation of the 1972 UNESCO Convention. 14-17 January 2015. University of Kent (UK) Deadline: 1st November 2014

International conference

The implementation of the 1972 UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage Legal and practical evaluation of the management of Cultural World Heritage Sites

14th – 17th January 2015. University of Kent, UK

Call for Papers

Deadline for abstracts: 31 March 2014

The 1972 UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage Convention is considered the most successful UNESCO Convention. It recognises that State Parties have a duty to protect their heritage with the dual aim to care for the past of humankind and improve the wellbeing of local communities. There are now 759 cultural sites on the World Heritage List, most of them in developed countries. While not in danger of wilful destruction, they are under different man-made threats such as pressure to build infrastructure, urban development, privatisation, unsustainable tourism, poor management or inadequate administrative/legislative provisions. Furthermore, the World Heritage Committee found that only 12 per cent of current management systems of Western Europe’s cultural sites was highly effective whereas more than 60 per cent needed improvement. Similarly, more than 50 per cent of protection arrangements needed upgrading (! World Heritage Report 20, 61; 62). The Western Europe sub group for Periodic Reporting of the application of the Convention also highlighted in December 2009 the need to develop means of allowing states ‘to give more full information on legislation and other aspects of protection in their constituent parts’ and that many lacked management plans, and defined statements of Outstanding Universal Value. Those findings and problems are not specific to Europe.

This conference aims to evaluate the efficiency of national laws, policy mechanisms and management plans in the protection of World Heritage Sites with a particular focus on cultural sites. It aims to bring together academics and stakeholders involved in the management of cultural world heritage sites in order to strengthen their relationship; to assess the implementation of the 1972 UNESCO Convention through a critical analysis of national laws and policies; to enhance Cultural World Heritage Sites’ stewardship by suggesting improvements to their regulatory framework and to the 1972 UNESCO Convention.

The purpose of the conference is to highlight, develop, and promote new ways of thinking about the protection of Cultural World Heritage Sites and submissions in the following areas are encouraged:

  1. Analysis of the different types of management systems and their efficiency in protecting Cultural World Heritage Sites:  management plans, regimes of ownership (public, quasi-public and private), definition of buffer zones and integrated management policies at different level of governance (local, national and international), with a particular emphasis on the role of local communities (private owners) and other steering groups
  2. Analysis of planning regulations, planning documents and how the planning/regulation system deals with changes, and the role of different stakeholders in this process
  3. Analysis of how change is dealt with in management plans (sustainable development, new construction including social housing, climate change) and the role of local communities
  4. The role of experts, international independent consultants, ICOMOS and other stakeholders in the management of those sites
  5. Analysis of the monitoring of Sites under threat or on the List of Sites in danger and measures/or lack of measures taken to prevent their delisting
  6. Practical experiences in monitoring Cultural World Heritage Sites, including complex sites like World Heritage cities, transboundary sites (national borders and local authority administrative boundaries), historic ensembles (and the role of local communities in their management)
  7. Analysis of funding and  resources for the management of Cultural World Heritage Sites and related problems at a local, national and international level
  8. Boundaries and cross-fertilization between the 1972 UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage and other international Conventions; as well as frontiers and connections between natural and cultural sites, tangible and intangible values

The conference is organised by the Research Network on the protection of Cultural World Heritage Sites funded by the AHRC. For more information about the network, see:

Abstracts of approximately 500 words (one page, Word document not PDF, single spaced, excluding references, no header, footers or track changes) are invited by 31 March 2014 with decisions on acceptance to be made within one month. All abstracts will be peer reviewed. Papers can be theoretical or theoretically informed empirical work. In the case of co-authored papers, ONE person should be identified as the corresponding author. Due to restrictions of space on the conference schedule, multiple submissions by the same author are not accepted. Abstracts should include FULL contact details, including your name, department, institutional affiliation, mailing address, and e-mail address. All delegates whose abstracts are approved will be expected to give a 20-minute presentation at the international conference to be held at the University! of Kent, Canterbury, UK. The deadline for the submission of the papers of accepted abstracts is 1 November 2014.

Delegates will be registered to the conference at no cost but are responsible for securing their own funding for travel, lodging and other incidental expenses.  A limited number of travel stipends may be awarded to those who demonstrate financial need.  If you would like to be considered for a travel stipend, please make that request in your submission.

Abstracts should be emailed to Dr Sophie Vigneron at