Opinion: ‘Celebration of World Heritage Day’
In today’s column, we interrupt our ongoing series on the American Colonial period in the history of Negros with this historic celebration of World HeritageDay (WHD). As mainly sourced from the Manila Bulletin of April 18, 2012, the observance of World Heritage Day is briefly explained as a worldwide event which, though not remembered as much as other occasions, is nevertheless as important as many other universal commemorations useful to the life of humankind.
As dated on April 18, 2012, World Heritage Day is a celebration of the rich diversities of historical heritage legacies as humanity’s inheritance, which is a unique identity of various groups of peoples and places. In this sense, this occasion relates positively to the recent UN declaration of the Palawan underground river, for its being one of the modern natural wonders of the world, and which Pres. Aquino has rightly called on the Filipino people to visit the site as one of the valuable sites of the Philippines.
A joint Heritage Council/International Council on Monuments and Sites Conference (ICOMOS) will be held at the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin, Ireland, to mark the WHD celebrations. The forum, called "Your Place or Mine," will explore new initiatives engaging communities and nations, and interpreting and presenting the heritage, and will also celebrate International Day of Monuments and Sites 2012, the theme of which is "World Heritage and Sustainable Development: the Role of Local Communities." Other activities and events worldwide are the provision of free admission to local heritage sites, organizing public fora or lectures on local heritage, exhibits celebrating local heritage, awarding prizes to individuals or groups who have made outstanding contributions to local heritage, inaugurating a restored monument or landmark, and getting the youth involved in heritage tours and related activities.
The origin of WHD can be traced back to April 18, 1982, when the ICOMOS organized a symposium in Tunisia where it was suggested that a special day be celebrated worldwide to mark "International Day of Monuments and Sites. The idea was also approved in UNESCO’s General Conference on November 26, 1983. Since then, "International Monuments and Sites Day" has been traditionally called the World Heritage Day. The world’s heritage represents the unique identities and cultures of the various countries and peoples of the world. They are a source of pride and inspiration to every generation. Lately, earthquakes and other natural disasters, pollution, poaching, uncontrolled urbanization and related negative events have posed major problems to World Heritage Sites. It is for this reason that local and national communities are enjoined to actively take part in efforts to protect, preserve and conserve local heritage that contributes to the rich and colorful global landscape. As an integral part of history, the heritage or legacy of national or local communities are crucial to the progress of peoples throughout the world.*(For questions/comments please call NOHCI tel # 476-1798)