The Sejong Declaration, adopted by all World Heritage-related Category 2 Centres

26 Jun 2023

WHIPIC hosted the 8th Annual Coordination Meeting of the Category 2 Centres from May 31st to June 2nd. Since 2010, the eight Category 2 Centres on World Heritage from around the world have been meeting annually to share their activities and discuss ways to collaborate in contributing to policies and programmes on World Heritage. The 7th Annual Meeting was disrupted due to the pandemic in 2019. However, as WHIPIC was established as the 9th Category 2 Centre, we proposed organizing the 8th Annual Coordination Meeting to celebrate our establishment.

This meeting was significant in that all nine Category 2 Centres participated, as well as the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS, and ICCROM also attended to provide support and advice on the work of Category 2 Centres.

Each session of the annual meeting was preceded by six pre-meetings, which allowed the Category 2 Centres to identify the current interest and the most pressing topics for discussion. Starting with a look at the importance of interpreting and presenting World Heritage sites, we shared our experiences and discussed collaboration strategies such as Periodic Reporting, joint programmes to implement the World Heritage Capacity Building Strategy.

A major outcome of the annual meeting was the adoption of the "Declaration of Understanding and Cooperation among the UNESCO World Heritage-related Category 2 Centres" (referred to as the Sejong Declaration). The Sejong Declaration is the first-ever declaration adopted by Category 2 Centres, outlining our shared objectives and collaborative efforts to achieve them. The full text of the declaration is provided below.

On the last day of the event, participants had the opportunity to visit Hanyangdoseong (Seoul City Wall), Changdeokgung Palace, and the National Palace Museum in Seoul to experience Korea's cultural heritage.

Through this event, it is hoped that Category 2 Centres will find inspiration to collaborate and support each other in achieving shared objectives in the future.





World Heritage Institute of Training and Research 

for the Asia and the Pacific Region, WHITR-AP

Mr. Xin LI

Deputy Secretary-General


Ms. Marie-Noel TOURNOUX

Project Director



African World Heritage Fund, AWHF

Mr. Vusithemba NDIMA



Mr. Albino JOPELA

Head of Programmes


Lucio Costa Regional Heritage Management Training Centre

Ms. Claudia Feierabend LEAL

Deputy Director


Regional World Heritge Institute in Zacatecas

Mr. Carlos Augusto TORRES PEREZ

Director General





Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage, ARC-WH

Ms. Heba AZIZ




Mr. Ebrahim AL KHALIFA

Deputy Director


International Centre for Rock Art and the World Heritage Convention


Head of Unit


International Centre on Space Technologies 

for Natural and Cultural Heritage, HIST

Mr. Shaobo LIU

Deputy Secretary General


Centre on World Natural Heritage Management and Training 

for Asia and the Pacific Region


Scientist F and Nodal Officer


International Centre for the Interpretation and Presentation 

of World Heritage Sites, WHIPIC

Ms. Suhee CHAE

Director General


Mr. Jaesoon LEE

Deputy Director General


Ms. Heekyoung YEO

Head of Office


Ms. Sujeong LEE

Head of Office


Ms. Haeree SHIM

Head of Office


Ms. Nayeon LEE

Senior Programme Specialist


Ms. Madalina Soucacu



UNESCO Beijing Office

Mr. Shahbaz KHAN



UNESCO World Heritage Centre

Mr. Valentino ETOWAR






Secretary General



Ms. Eugene JO

Programme Manager


The Sejong Declaration of Understanding and Cooperation

among the UNESCO World Heritage-related Category 2 Centres


1. We recognize that the World Heritage Category 2 Centres are institutions that contribute towards strengthening sustainable development through the conservation and protection of World Heritage properties within the framework of the World Heritage Convention and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


2. We also recognize that the World Heritage Category 2 Centres are key actors in the implementation of UNESCO's World Heritage Capacity Building Strategy to ensure that stakeholders and rights-holders at all levels have relevant expertise to conserve and manage World Heritage.


3. We recognize that all heritages are to be interpreted and presented based on the understanding of its natural and cultural components in a multifaceted and inclusive manner reflecting diverse identities and experiences in various regions of the world.


4. We will strive to achieve the following common objectives:


a. Provide capacity-building programmes to stakeholders at all levels including local communities as key actors, so that they can participate effectively in the conservation and management of World Heritage sites.

b. Understand the regional characteristics and recognize difficulties of conserving and managing World Heritage in each region, and seek solutions suitable for regional situations.

c. Improve the visibility of the contribution of Category 2 Centres to the implementation of the World Heritage Convention, e.g. through dedicated reporting by the representative of the Centres directly to the World Heritage Committee.

d. Strengthen and develop the expertise of the Category 2 Centres and get involved in World Heritage working processes.


5. We will cooperate to achieve our common objectives as follows:


a. Taking advantage of the geographical locations of Category 2 Centres around the world, we will collaborate on implementing the Regional Capacity Building Strategy and its Action Plans produced as a result of the Periodic Reporting of World Heritage.

b. Explore the possibility of implementing joint capacity building activities at a multilateral level by pooling resources of the respective Centres.

c. In order to strengthen the capabilities of Category 2 Centres, annual seminars of Category 2 Centres shall be held to share best practices, knowledge, and expertise through hybrid and in-person modalities, and personnel exchanges between institutions shall be conducted if necessary.

d. Each Category 2 Centre, to the extent of its possibilities, will make its capacities available to the other Category 2 Centres, in terms of support, to strengthen the cooperation between Category 2 Centres and achieve common objectives, e.g. through joint projects in all regions.

e. We will encourage the partners to join our efforts to identify World Heritage in cooperation with the World Heritage Committee Advisory Bodies, and to support the conservation and management of World Heritage with State Parties, and other stakeholders, such as site managers, decision-makers and local communities.


6. We support the common objectives at the 8th Annual Meeting of the World Heritage Category 2 Centres in 2023, and we commit to working on strengthening the cooperation between the World Heritage Category 2 Centres to carry out the declaration in the future.


International Centre for the Interpretation and Presentation of World Heritage Sites

2107, Hannuri-daero, Sejong-si, Republic of Korea

T. +82 44 251 1000    E.

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