UNESCO officials to come to Liverpool for World Heritage Status seminars

Organiser say the autumn events will ‘will make UNESCO’s voice heard publicly in the city for the first time’ in a debate that has become increasingly divisive. Tony McDonough reports

Peel’s £5bn Liverpool Waters scheme has put the city’s World Heritage Status at risk

UNESCO officials will come to Liverpool this autumn to take part in a series of seminars to discuss the city’s World Heritage Status (WHS).

Organiser say the events will “will make UNESCO’s voice heard publicly in the city for the first time” in a debate that has become increasingly divisive.

Organised by Engage Liverpool CIC, a social enterprise, the seminar series is entitled “Liverpool UNESCO World Heritage Site – A Status worth fighting for?”.

It will bring heritage officials, including Isabelle Anatole-Gabriel, UNESCO’s Chief of the Europe and North America Unit to venues within Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City – currently inscribed on UNESCO’s List of World Heritage in Danger.

The seminar series has been announced to coincide with the ICOMOS International Day for Monuments and Sites on April 18.

Liverpool was designated as a WHS in 2004 covering six areas of the city centre and docklands.

The award was made in recognition of the city’s global significance as one of the world’s major trading centres in the 18th and 19th centuries, and also for its part in the development of mass movements of people.

UNESCO and The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) have warned that redevelopment in the area – including the Liverpool Waters scheme – “would fundamentally adversely affect the Outstanding Universal Value of the property”. Liverpool is now one of only two endangered UNESCO sites in Europe.

However, both politicians, including Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson, and developers have questioned whether the constraints of WHS are hampering our efforts to compete for investment with cities such as Manchester.

Gerry Proctor, chair Of Engage Liverpool CIC said “It seems fair to say that UNESCO’s voice has never been properly heard in the city, except perhaps in negative ways.

“Had UNESCO come to speak to people in the intervening years then we might not have ended up with the debate being framed in an either/or binary position between economic development or heritage, civic growth or becoming a museum, progress or being held hostage to the past.”

Although venues for the seminars have yet to be decided people can still register. They are:

Wednesday 4 October 2017

Seminar 1: UNESCO World Heritage Site – what’s it all about?

Isabelle Anatole-Gabriel: UNESCO Chief of the Europe and North America Unit at the World Heritage Centre, Paris.

Register here

Wednesday 18 October 2017

Seminar 2: Development and Conservation – why the conflict?

Michael Turner UNESCO Chair in Urban Design and Conservation Studies at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem.

Register here

Wednesday 1 November 2017

Seminar 3: Heritage Assets – where’s the value?

Minja Yang: former Deputy Director of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, Paris and Director of the UNESCO WHS Regional Office in Delhi, currently  President and Professor at Raymond Lemaire International Centre for Conservation at the Catholic University of Louvain,  Belgium.

Register here

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