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筑波大学自然保護寄付講座
 

UNESCO Chair on Nature-Culture Linkages

REPORT OF THE SECOND CAPACITY BUILDING WORKSHOP

ON NATURE-CULTURE LINKAGES IN HERITAGE CONSERVATION

IN ASIA AND THE PACIFIC – CBWNCL 2017

SACRED LANDSCAPES

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY


The Second Capacity Building Workshop on Nature-Culture Linkages in Heritage Conservation in Asia and the Pacific (CBWNCL 2017) took place in Tsukuba, Japan, from September 15 to 26, 2017. The workshop was organized by the UNESCO Chair on Nature-Culture Linkages in Heritage Conservation at the University of Tsukuba, with the collaboration of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) and the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS).

 

            This workshop, which theme was Sacred Landscapes, is the second of a series programmed for the period 2016-2019. The aim is to contribute to the World Heritage Capacity Building Programme in promoting and developing skills of mid-career heritage practitioners of the Asia and the Pacific region to deal with the interlinkages between nature and culture in heritage sites.

 

            The workshop was divided in four modules:

 

-      Module1: Understanding Nature-Culture Linkages in the Context of the Sacred  

       Landscape Conservation

-      Module2: Management, Implementation and Governance in Sacred Landscapes

-      Module3: Reflection on Theory and Practice

-      Module4: International Symposium

 

 

Module 1 consisted in three days of intensive lectures, group discussions and participants’ case studies’ presentations. The lectures dealt with the international framework regarding nature-culture linkages and landscape conservation, from the natural and cultural sectors perspectives, covering the Protected Landscape Approach from IUCN and the Cultural Landscapes Approach used in the World Heritage context. Moreover,community-based conservation and traditional knowledge systems were revised, case studies from the region and beyond as well as the Japanese experience on sacred landscapes conservation, were explored. Sixteen case studies were presented, five World Heritage sites, one in the tentative list, three protected at national level and seven related to processes of identification of sacred sites and community development with indigenous groups which traditions are related to sacred places.

 

            Module 2 lasted five days where the participants visited the Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range, World Heritage Cultural Landscape since 2004. There, participants could have a practical experience and learn about the nomination process of the three core areas of the property: Koyasan, Kumano Sanzan and Yoshino and Omine, and the pilgrimage routes that connect them. Moreover, the three sacred sites were explained as three centers for three of the most important spiritual practices in Japan: Shingon Buddhism, Shinto and Shugendo. The visits included temples, shrines,mountain trails, waterfalls as well as the ceremonies held in these places.Participants could understand that this area is protected under different legal frameworks and under natural and cultural heritage sectors: at international level, as Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage, and at national level as National Park, Places of Scenic Beauty, Historic sites containing National Treasures, Natural Monuments and Important Cultural Properties. In the visits,participants were able to learn from monks in charge of some of the temples of the area and discuss with local managers at the sites.

 

            Module 3 comprised two days of reflection on the theory and practice gained during the workshop. Participants were divided in groups to work on key issues for the conservation of sacred landscapes, reflecting on both natural and cultural values of the places visited during the field trip. Finally,participants prepared one presentation for the whole group in order to give it during the international symposium.

 

            The CBWNCL 2017 was closed with the Module 4 that consisted on the Second International Symposium on Nature-Culture Linkages in Heritage Conservation held on September 26, at the Tsukuba International Congress Centre in the framework of the Tsukuba Global Science Week 2017 organized byt he University of Tsukuba. The symposium gathered ten international experts: representatives of the partner organizations – UNESCO World Heritage Centre, IUCN, ICCROM and ICOMOS -, two academic specialists on Sacred Landscapes from Keio University, Japan,and the University of Technology, Malaysia, representatives of the University of Montreal and the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, as well as international consultants representing Terra-Sana Environmental Consulting and The Mountain Institute. The sixteen participants of the CBWNCL 2017, heritage practitioners from the culture and nature sectors coming from Australia,Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Solomon Islands, Vietnam, Ghana and France,presented the outcomes of the workshop, discussing on the key issues for the conservation of sacred landscapes.

 

            During the panel discussion and roundtable, it was pointed out the continuous need to develop synergies between the nature and culture sectors in the heritage conservation context, both at the World Heritage level, and national levels. Sacred landscapes were considered as very good examples of the interrelations between nature and culture through spiritual values that are manifested in a very diverse manner in the Asia and the Pacific region. Furthermore, it was noted that there are language differences that refer to a diversity of worldviews where nature and culture are not separated and distinct as it is in the Western Modern perspective.

 

            It was concluded that sacred values are context-dependent and evolving, and that it is important to include all stakeholders in the process of their conservation. The main challenges noted were increasing tourism, especially after a World Heritage inscription, that may affect the sacredness of a place. Moreover, depopulation of rural areas where these sacred values are strong is an urgent issue to address together with the need of guaranteeing the inter-generational transmission of spiritual values,and practices related to sacredness.  Gender-framed practices and prohibitions were raised as an issue, especially in the World Heritage context, where the access to a site is understood as to be universal.

 

Participants recognized the need to meet and share with practitioners from different disciplines and sectors of the heritage practice,and think about conservation in a more holistic manner. The harmonization of the objectives of conservation needs to be worked out, especially in natural protected areas, where sometimes the conservation efforts go against the conservation of cultural heritage, especially, in terms of spiritual practices.Even though some of the countries and sites share similar problems, the diversity of cases and spiritual traditions in Asia and the Pacific region was acknowledged, bringing to debate the existence of a “Asian” approach to conservation.Finally, the Capacity Building Workshops on Nature-Culture Linkages in Heritage Conservation in Asia and the Pacific were recognized as playing an important part in creating a bridge between nature and culture practitioners in this region,and the role of the UNESCO Chair as an international exchange platform was commended.