Heritage conservation is an evolving practice, and one of the current debates focuses on identifying and recovering the connections between nature and culture sectors. This exchange has become instrumental for the interpretation, conservation and sustainable management of both natural and cultural heritage sites.
The purpose of the Capacity Building Workshops on Nature-Culture Linkages in Asia and the Pacific (CBWNCL) is to contribute to the World Heritage Capacity Building Programme led by ICCROM and IUCN, in consultation with ICOMOS and the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, in developing new approaches towards integrated conservation of cultural and natural heritage. These workshops, started in 2016, explore nature-culture linkages with focus on theory and practice in Asia and the Pacific Region. The visit to Japanese heritage sites forms a core component of the programme, where participants conduct practical work. Participants will be able to understand issues and explore approaches being adopted in the field.
The first workshop under the theme “Agricultural landscapes” was held in September 2016. It was inaugurated with an international symposium at the University of Tsukuba, and featured field visits to the Noto Peninsula and the Historical villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama, World Heritage site since 1995. Fourteen participants coming from the culture and nature sectors from nine countries in Asia and the Pacific (Australia, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Turkey) as well as countries in Africa (Ghana) and Latin America (Colombia) gathered with international and Japanese experts during the workshop.
The second workshop was dedicated to “Sacred Landscapes” and was held in September 2017. This time, the workshop closed with the Second International Symposium on Nature-Culture Linkages in Heritage Conservation. Sixteen participants from 13 countries in Asia and the Pacific (Australia, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam), one from Africa (Ghana) and one from Europe (France), visited the Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes of the Kii Mountain Range, along with international experts on the heritage field as well as Japanese professionals and site managers.
The third workshop dealt with “Disasters and Resilience” and took place in September 2018. The workshop was inaugurated with the Third International Symposium on Nature-Culture Linkages in Heritage Conservation. Fifteen participants, i.e. 11 from nine countries in Asia and the Pacific (Australia, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Vietnam), two from America (Chile and Hawaii, USA), one from Europe (Russian Federation) and one from Africa (Kenya), had the chance to discuss about disaster risk prevention and building resilience with natural and cultural heritage with international and Japanese experts on the heritage field. They visited sites that exhibit the interlinkages between nature and culture in the Tohoku region, affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011.
Theme of CBWNCL 2019: Mixed Cultural and Natural Heritage
Thirty-eight properties are inscribed in the World Heritage List as Mixed Cultural and Natural Heritage (Mixed Sites). They are single sites but their outstanding universal value (OUV) is justified under natural and cultural criteria separately. The evaluation of nominations for Mixed Sites have been done separately by IUCN focusing on the natural criteria (vii) to (x) for natural values, and by ICOMOS focusing on the cultural criteria (i) to (vi) for their cultural values. Two separate Statements of Outstanding Universal Value (SOUV) and management plans are prepared and generally two separate teams undertake the management under different regimes. In all these cases nature-culture linkages are overlooked. This separation was one of the obvious questions raised by the Advisory Bodies to the World Heritage Convention, that attempted to bridge the gaps and recognize the interdependency of nature and culture and the reciprocal benefits of working together. After 40 years of working independently, the World Heritage Capacity Building Strategy paved the way to start addressing these issues around 2013. During the same period, the World Heritage Committee requested to the Advisory Bodies to find methods to develop evaluations where the linkages between cultural and natural values could be acknowledged and integrated in the SOUV of Mixed Sites. This led to the Connecting Practice Project and all these efforts collectively led to Capacity Building Activities. This workshop series forms a pioneering activity. It has opened up the opportunity for practitioners and researchers to understand the linkages between nature and culture and the benefits of working together.
In Japan, there are no Mixed Sites inscribed in the List, even though some of the cultural and natural properties have potential for this designation. One example is Mount Fuji, inscribed as “Fujisan, sacred place and source of artistic inspiration” in the World Heritage List in 2013 as a cultural property under the criteria (iii) and (vi), covering areas in Shizuoka and Yamanashi prefectures. Protected as a National Park (Fuji-Hakone-Izu), Mount Fuji is an interesting example to explore nature-culture linkages, where a variety of Japanese national designations are present: tangible and intangible cultural properties, natural monuments, places of scenic beauty, important habitats and species of animals and plants. In Mount Fuji, sacred values of pilgrimage are interrelated with symbolic and aesthetic values, giving a significance that goes beyond national borders.
In this workshop, we are interested in discussing issues related to Mixed Sites that can be exemplified by Mount Fuji and participants’ case studies. Management and governance challenges, integration of indigenous worldviews into management systems and plans, the applicability of natural criterion (vii) in the World Heritage context, as well as how to work towards a method for identifying and analyzing the interactions between natural and cultural values, are some of the topics that will be explored
- To provide the existing knowledge on Mixed Sites and the implications of their nominations and post-inscription management aspects by dividing nature and culture within a single site.
- To provide the knowledge being developed about sites as landscapes recognizing the nature-culture linkages and the benefits of working together for effective management of Mixed Sites in general, and in participants’ own sites/case studies in particular.
- To visit and exchange experiences with local managers and residents and learn how cultural and natural heritage values have been protected and conserved with different approaches, initiatives and governance systems.
- To establish networks among heritage practitioners in the region.
The workshop is an intensive programme combining theory and practice, through lectures, presentations and roundtables in Tsukuba at the University Campus, and a field trip to the “Fujisan, sacred place and source of artistic inspiration” World Heritage property since 2013, where participants will get in contact with local managers and local communities.
The workshop is open to a maximum number of 15 professionals from Asia and the Pacific region involved in the management of Mixed Cultural and Natural World Heritage sites, Mixed Sites on the Tentative List of their respective country, or potential Mixed Sites. Mid-career heritage practitioners with a minimum of five (5) years of experience from both natural and cultural heritage sectors currently engaged in managing/working in cultural heritage sites with natural values, and natural heritage sites with cultural values, are eligible to apply.
International and Japanese professionals and academics in the field of heritage conservation (nature and culture sectors).
Travel, accommodation and living expenses
Organizers will cover the cost of accommodation and living expenses in Japan for the selected participants. A limited number of scholarships will be available to cover the international travel costs of selected participants from developing countries.
A certificate of attendance given by the University will be awarded to participants who satisfactorily complete the workshop.
Applications should be e-mailed to:
For more details on the application requirements: