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Introduction

Kyoto, Japan © UNESCO Gallery

The Asia-Pacific Mayors’ Forum addresses the question of how to integrate sustainable development into urban conservation strategies. 

Cities account for over 250 properties inscribed on the World Heritage List.  In addition, cities also form the context for a significant number of other monuments and groups of buildings recognized as World Heritage properties.  In Asia and the Pacific region alone, there are over 20 World Heritage towns and cities and over 40 other municipalities which host some of the region’s most notable World Heritage landmarks.  

In the context of Asia’s rapidly expanding urban population, which will grow by approximately 70% within the next 20 years, these towns and cities are facing major challenges in terms of economic and social transformation. 

The integrity and community values of historic urban areas and their settings are increasingly threatened by transformation processes.  Another major challenge is climate change. While cities produce two thirds of the world’s greenhouse emissions and therefore constitute the main contributors to climate change, they are also heavily threatened by it. 

The UNESCO Recommendation on the Conservation of Historic Urban Landscapes addresses these challenges by suggesting a holistic approach for the conservation of historic towns and cities. This approach extends the notion of ‘historic centre’ to include the broader urban and geographical context, as well as, patterns of spatial organization, social, cultural and natural values.  

Objectives

Samarkand, Uzbekistan © HubPages

The Asia-Pacific Mayors’ Forum will provide a platform for municipal leaders from around the Asia-Pacific region to interact with each other and thought leaders from around the world both from other cities, academia and civil society organizations. The objectives of the Mayors’ Forum will be: 

•  To share challenges and good practices in urban management based on the three proposed sub-themes

•  To identify areas of future needs in technical capacity-building in heritage towns and cities

•  To mobilize leadership responses to tackle these challenges in participating municipalities

•  To establish a foundation for on-going regional networking among mayors of heritage towns and cities in the Asia-Pacific region