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This working group was active between 2006 and 2014 under the Italian Presidency.
In 2006 the IX Alpine Conference established a working group aimed inter alia at facilitating transboundary and serial applications to the UNESCO World Heritage List from the Alpine arch. In 2009 the X Alpine Conference requested the Working Group to cluster potential alpine sites according to the themes that emerged from its analysis. In 2014 the XIII. Alpine Conference established a new Working group on Sustainable tourism with a broader mandate also including UNESCO aspects.
Starting from the precise question on how to best harmonize UNESCO World Heritage Tentative Lists in the Alpine region, the Working Group developed an agreed methodology, based on a scientific approach, aimed at harmonization of proposals list coming from the Alpine arch.
The basic documents for the work of the Working Group UNESCO are the Protocols “Tourism” and “Nature protection and landscape conservation” as well as  the “Declaration on Population and Culture” of the Alpine Convention. Furthermore this WG’s communication about the natural and cultural value of the Alps supports the Multiannual Work Program in all the priority areas.
The working group has fulfilled the following tasks:

  • elaboration and analysis of the status of World Heritage in the Alpine Region;
  • facilitation of harmonization of Tentative List screening of potential natural sites (Workshops held in Bern and in Valdieri) and facilitation of upstream processes;
  • development and implementation of a methodology to identify potentially suitable WH World Heritage  in the Alpine region;
  • discussion about tangible and intangible values of heritage in the Alps;
  • establishment of contacts with UNESCO World Heritage Centre1 who defined the results;
  • presentation of good practices for other regions

Organization of work

The participation of the UNESCO World Heritage exerts nominated by the Contracting parties and their active and regular participation through the years is one of the reason of success. The working group has often allowed to organize thematic workshops and to visit the sites of World Heritage properties. 
The work included the development of joint analysis and overviews (“Alpine sites and the UNESCO World Heritage – Background study”; “Protected sites in the Alps with a cultural or natural designation”; “Properties in the Alps inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List”) and was characterized by comprehensive individual contributions of WG members and very open discussions in the WG meetings.
The work of the WG was supported by several scientific workshops which included a broad range of international experts and exchanges within the working group. Among them, particular relevance has been covered by the international expert meeting “Natural world heritage in the Alpine region” (Bern, 14th- 15th December 2010) and the expert workshop on potential cultural world heritage in the Alps (Trieste, 2nd-3rd February 2011) (financed by extra budgetary funds: Switzerland, Austria and Principality of Monaco). Further workshops during the Italian Presidency of the Alpine Convention for the two-year period 2013-20144 have been organized with local and regional administrations.
Outcomes Achieved  
In order to spread out the outcomes achieved during these years, the Working Group recommends to communicate the work done by the WG to the relevant stakeholders (e.g. World Heritage Centre, UNESCO, IUCN, ICOMOS, ICCROM and national UNESCO commissions, other regional fora etc.) and to create a virtual web platform on the Alpine Convention’s website, with the aim to regularly update information on WH, Geoparks and other similar on-going or future nominations, with the support of the Permanent Secretariat of the Alpine Convention as well as to present the outcomes on the occasion of relevant meetings (national UNESCO Commissions, World Heritage Committee, local nominations events etc.).
In the frame of the Alpine Convention, it is recommended:

  • to implement the  outcomes achieved by the WG, concerning potentially suitable nominations from the Alps;
  • to provide scientific support to the tentative nomination of the “Alps of the Sea”;
  • to communicate the methodology and the results of the work of the WG to relevant stakeholders (national audience, UNESCO, WH Convention stakeholders, other regional conventions/fora);
  • to transfer the results to other relevant Working Groups or Platforms (e.g. Platform on Ecological networks etc.) and especially to the newly established Working Group on Sustainable Tourism (in which the participation of experts on World Heritage of the delegations is recommended);
  • to assure also a link with the "World Heritage and Sustainable tourism Programme".

Activities, documents, results