From 3rd to 6th February 2015 in Arenberg Castle of the city of Leuven (Belgium) was held an International Conference “HERITAGE COUNTS” on the economic, social, environmental and cultural impact of heritage.
The four-day agenda included more than 30 presentations about discourse, strategies and case studies dealing with the economic, social, environmental and cultural impacts of cultural heritage. Presenters came from all over Europe as well as from China, Ecuador, Japan and United States.
In this conference Kosovo was represented by the CHwB program manager Enes Toska with a case study “Local cultural heritage plans, from exclusive professional valorisation to the comprehensive understanding and use of heritage – case study of seven municipalities in Kosovo”. The study is based on the experiences of Local Cultural Heritage Plans Program in 7 municipalities of Kosovo implemented by CHwB Kosovo and funded by Sweden.
Through this four year program, CHwB Kosovo office has adopted a new approach for the protection and promotion of cultural and natural heritage. These plans have identified cultural and natural heritage assets to be used for economic and social development of the partner municipalities of Dragash, Gjakova, Gjilan, Kaçanik, Parteš, Rahovec and Vushtrri. The process of developing these plans included wide range of local stakeholders engaged in various meetings, participatory workshops, study visits and public consultations. Besides drafting the plans, this program has created a new standard where a lot of priorities identified in these plans have been implemented in the field.
One of the key focuses of the program has been the establishment of Local Forums in each partner municipality. Each Forum consisted of 20 members in total, with more than half of the members from the respective municipality, representatives from central institutions, local authorities, international organizations and civil society. Four main roles of the Forums were: interagency communication and coordination; decision making body in drafting the plans and setting the priorities; monitoring and supporting role on implementation of priorities emerged from the plans and implementing partners on number of priorities emerged from the plans. With this approach, knowledge, ability and understanding of the significance of cultural heritage was raised among local communities for social, economic and cultural purposes.
For all topics covered in the conference, check the conference program.