Turin to build on EXPO theme by showcasing sustainable management of UNESCO designated territories

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From 13 to 16 October 2015, Turin will host the 3rd World Forum on Local Economic Development and launch the EXTO-EXPO 2015 programme. Within this framework, the Centro Studi Silvia Santagata-Ebla (CSS-Ebla, Turin, Italy), is organising, in cooperation with the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, Venice (Italy), the pilot edition of a capacity-building workshop on the Management of “UNESCO designated sites” for Sustainable Development: World Heritage Sites and Biosphere Reserves.

Conceived as part of the activities promoted by the UNESCO Venice Office within the framework of EXPO 2015, this initiative is intended as a pilot activity to be institutionalized and replicated in the coming years. The “Behind Food Sustainability” exhibition has served as a source of inspiration and as starting point to select sites from around the world to take part in the workshop. The programme is generously supported by the City of Turin and the Compagnia di San Paolo, and organized with the cooperation of the United Nations System Staff College (UNSSC), based in Turin, Italy.

The programme will commence on 16 October 2015 to coincide with the World Forum on Local Economic Development in Turin and will include a visit to EXPO Milan 2015, with a final discussion at the Swiss Pavilion, supported by the cities of Geneva and Lausanne. It aims to improve the institutional and professional capacities of local agencies, site managers, and key stakeholders involved in the management of UNESCO designated sites, with a special focus on World Heritage properties and the Biosphere Reserves Network.

Managing natural and cultural territorial assets in the era of the knowledge society, global markets and experience economy, is a complex effort that requires us to adapt to diverse and heterogeneous policy issues. Within this framework, territories, communities and governmental agencies concerned by “UNESCO designations” are faced with great challenges and opportunities, which require the development of specific professional and institutional capacities. This is all the more true in the case of sites in which food production still plays a key role in ensuring sustainable development and heritage preservation.

The innovative approach of this programme relies on bringing together stakeholders from UNESCO global networks that have food production at their centre to identify, share and discuss sustainable management policies and practices and to further develop their capacities by means of a combination of presentations, tutorials, group work and site visits. On this basis, the present initiative intends to organize a cross-sectoral and multi-disciplinary capacity building programme, and training sessions will be organized to facilitate knowledge and experience sharing among participants, with the participation of lecturers from UNESCO and academic institutions and of site managers. A final publication of the materials and case studies presented during the training course and side activities is also foreseen.

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As well as contributing to the United Nations’ participation in Milan, “The Zero Hunger Challenge – United for a Sustainable World”, UNESCO is taking part in the Venice to EXPO 2015 initiative with a broad programme of events in and around Venice and in UNESCO sites and territories throughout Italy.

UNESCO’s contribution to EXPO 2015 was made possible by the generous support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, Venice (Italy).