Capacity-building: improve institutional capacities and create dynamic relationships with communities

Capacity-building: improve institutional capacities and create dynamic relationships with communities

22 Agosto 2020 Off Di Direzione Rivista Siti Unesco

From World Heritage Policy Compendium, and Fondazione Santagata



Capacity-building – whether of practitioners, institutions or communities and networks – is seen as a form of people-centred change that entails working with groups of individuals to achieve improvements in approaches to managing heritage.

Capacity-building in the World Heritage framework can encompass the strengthening of knowledge, abilities, skills and behaviour of people with direct responsibilities for heritage conservation and management. It can improve institutional structures and processes through empowering decision-makers and policy-makers, and can introduce a more dynamic relationship between heritage and its context and, in turn, greater reciprocal benefits by using a more inclusive approach, and in a way that provides a sustainable approach to missions and goals.

The Capacity-Building theme includes policy related to Capacity-Building for the Convention, including the Capacity Building Strategy.

Capacity-building analyses clarify the existence of two paradigm shifts. The first is the need do move from training to capacity building: in addition to improving the skills and abilities of professionals, there is also a need to improve institutional capacities and create more dynamic relationships with communities.  This meant expanding target audiences to include not just practitioners, but also institutions, communities, and networks.  Each of these targets has different learning needs, as they play different parts in the conservation process. The second shift is an understanding that the culture and nature sectors must collaborate more closely within the framework of the World Heritage Convention.  While the Convention covers both kinds of heritage, in practice there had not been much effort to create opportunities to learn from each other.

The International Academy on Sustainable Development is one of the most effective capacity-building programme, ideated and implemented by the Research Centre Silvia Santagata – Ebla (CSS-Ebla) and UNESCO through its Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe (based in Venice, Italy), with the support of several local partners in the Turin and Piedmont area. The UNESCO Chair on Sustainable Development and Territory Management at the University of Turin joined the initiative in 2017.

The main objective is to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, through an effective advancement of institutional and professional capacities of managing authorities, communities and relevant operators from UNESCO designations.

Launched as a pilot programme on the occasion of the 3rd International Forum on Local Economic Development in 2015, in collaboration with the United Nations System Staff College and the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organization, the Academy is based in Torino (Italy), which hosts 3 different UNESCO designations.