National Focal Points and World Heritage Site Managers of Nepal meet for the Periodic Reporting Workshop
On 17 February, 24 officials including the National Focal Points and World Heritage Site Managers – both natural and cultural – came together in Kathmandu to discuss Periodic Reporting on the implementation of the World Heritage Convention.
The Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, the Department of Archaeology, and UNESCO collaborated to organize this workshop within the framework of the Third Cycle of the Periodic Reporting. The event’s goal was to share the progress made and challenges faced in completing Section I of the Third Cycle of the Periodic Reporting on the national-level implementation of the Convention and to facilitate the completion of the Section II questionnaires on site-level implementation.
The National Focal Point for World Heritage Cultural Property Dr Suresh Suras Shrestha shared his experience and lessons learned since the Second Cycle of the Periodic Reporting process (2010-2011 in Asia and the Pacific) and the efforts made for the Third Cycle to complete Section I. Dr Shrestha also shared how site managers, representing the municipal authorities, Pashipati Aerea Development Trust, Baudhnath Area Development Committee and the Department of Archaeology site offices’ in charge of the seven monument zones of the Kathmandu Valley World Heritage Property, have coordinated to organise working meetings twice a week to complete Section II of the questionnaires.
Acknowledging the importance of the national reporting process, the Director-General of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, Dr Deepak Kumar Kharal, encouraged both departments- natural and cultural – to contribute to the process together and organise joint meeting workshops in the future, too.
Similarly, Nipuna Shrestha from UNESCO provided an overview of the periodic reporting process, discussing how it engages various stakeholders from global to site-level and steers a bottom-up approach to collecting data. She also emphasised the periodic reporting timeline and its improved mechanisms to ensure reliable information input, allowing accurate analysis in identifying priorities and in the preparation of reports and action plans at both the national and regional levels. She provided participants with information on various resources and online sessions and guidance tools, including the Nepali-English bilingual version of ‘Handbook for Site Managers’, to facilitate the exercise. An animation video on the periodic reporting questionnaire and two short videos on practical tips were also screened and focused on resolving specific challenges the Site Managers face while filling up the questionnaires.
Following the demonstration exercise conducted by Dr Suresh Suras Shrestha, the Site Managers and Departments’ officials engaged deeply to share their own experiences on the status of and challenges in their processes. The session provided the opportunity for all to discuss their questions about the process as well as the content and technical aspects of the questionnaires.
Overall, the workshop provided an opportunity for good networking amongst Site Managers of the four World Heritage properties: Kathmandu Valley, Lumbini, the Birthplace of the Lord Buddha, and the two National Parks of Sagarmatha and Chitwan. Participants exchanged ideas and, discussed site-level challenges and the ways to address specific issues, such as the impact of development on conservation and how the mechanism under the Convention continues to remain as vital as ever.
To ensure further exchanges, both the Departments agreed to continue organising joint Site Managers’ workshops in the days to come. To ensure timely reporting, another meeting is planned for mid-March 2021.
Periodic Reporting is a global conservation monitoring mechanism, the statutory requirement under the World Heritage Convention, 1972 (Article 29). It is a self-reporting exercise whereby all States Parties are requested to provide up-to-date information on the implementation of the Convention at the national-level and property-level and is coordinated and facilitated by the UNESCO World Heritage Center, the Secretariat to the Convention.