Chaired by RADI Director-General Prof. Guo Huadong, this joint seminar, and the preparations that preceded it, offered an opportunity for IRDR and the RADI-based UNESCO Centre HIST (International Centre on Space Technologies for Natural and Cultural Heritage) to explore possibilities for future collaboration. Speakers were the IRDR Executive Director R. Klein and HIST advisor and beneficiary of a visiting professorship at RADI, Prof Natarajan Ishwaran, formerly of UNESCO.
Established in July 2011, HIST aims at providing technical services to UNESCO and its member states on the use of space technologies for UNESCO-designated places. HIST was instrumental in the international dialogue on the use of space technologies in world heritage protection, which took place earlier this year at China’s Mount Huangshan, a UNESCO natural and cultural heritage site and global geopark: this was the first time that more than 160 representatives of UNESCO-designated places in 23 countries, including World Heritage Sites, Biosphere Reserves and UNESCO-affiliated Global Geoparks, gathered together for a four-day dialogue. The dialogue was aimed at boosting communication and cooperation among UNESCO-designated places, with a focus on enhancing protection, management and sustainable development through space technologies, said Hong Tianhua, secretary-general of the dialogue’s organizing committee.
IRDR exchanges with UNESCO revealed that the relevant sections at UNESCO headquarters in Paris have been working on a catalogue of potentially disaster-exposed heritage sites. It was agreed that it would be helpful to use some of these sites a pilots for testing preventive measures and training modules.