On July 19, a side event of the 44th Session of UNESCO World Heritage Committee (WHC) was jointly held by the International Centre on Space Technologies for Natural and Cultural Heritage (HIST) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), both online and offline, under the theme of “Space Technologies Towards Sustainable Development of World Heritage”. Tian Xuejun, Vice Minister of Education, Chairperson of the Chinese National Commission for UNESCO, and Chairperson of the WHC’s 44th Session attended the meeting and delivered a speech.
Tian acknowledged the great role played by space technologies in the identification, conservation and management of natural and cultural heritage sites worldwide. He said that the wide application of such technologies had promoted sustainable development of world heritage and helped enhance capacity building for better implementation of the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage.
Tian also noted that, since its inception, the HIST had won wide recognition from the UNESCO and the state parties to the Convention, especially developing countries, for its efforts in fostering international cooperation and using space technologies to facilitate studies, knowledge sharing, and awareness raising.
He stressed the need for remote-sensing big data particularly in the context of COVID-19. He hoped that the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, its advisory bodies and category 2 centers could collaborate to systematically push forward the world heritage protection, including increasing the representation of specific regions on the World Heritage List.