‘The economic crisis has affected the global development agenda. European donors have shifted their priorities’
Amulya Gopalakrishnan: What does it tangibly mean when a site from a particular nation has been chosen to be on the UNESCO world heritage list? How does it help?
The most important part is the inscription of the UNESCO world heritage site. Competition is growing and I am often asked that since we will be reaching 1,000 sites soon, isn’t it time to stop inscribing? I always say no. That’s the wrong approach. What is more important from our point of view is preserving heritage and passing it down to future generations. It’s not the inscription which is the most important part, although it is the most visible part. How can we protect heritage, how can we inscribe it into development policies? Those are the most important questions. We see that heritage and culture are subjected to diverse pressures—the pressure of modernisation, of creating new infrastructure, of developmental policies, of urbanisation. There is practically not a single site which is not subjected to these pressures. I don’t think protecting heritage should be seen as an obstacle to any of this if there are correct policies to include this in local developmental plans. A balance can be found between this drive for modernity and protection of heritage. So, from our point
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