The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), in association with UNESCO, is establishing a Centre for World Natural Heritage Management and Training for the Asia and Pacific Region as a UNESCO Category 2 Centre at the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun. The Centre will be established by signing an agreement with UNESCO very soon, as all the procedures are completed. This is for the first time that an existing institute has been accorded the recognition of Category 2 Centre (C2C) by the UNESCO and is also the first centre to be established for management and training in the field of natural heritage in the world.
Minister of State (Independent Charge), Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Prakash Javadekar, said that this is a recognition of the excellent work done by the institute in the field of World Heritage management in natural heritage and this experience will be useful for all the countries of Asia and Pacific Region for identification of potential natural heritage sites, their inscription and management in line with the objectives of World Heritage Convention.
The C2C will function as an integral part of the Wildlife Institute of India by sharing its campus, management and human resources. The Governing Council will have participation of UNESCO, which will also provide advice from global experts. As the centre will cater to capacity building needs of Asia Pacific, it will also be able to provide additional incentive to WII for providing its services in identification, capacity building for management and monitoring of natural heritage for all the countries in the Region.
Asia Pacific already has 227 world heritage properties, out of which 59 are natural sites. Among these, 32 properties are in India, including seven natural heritages. These are – Kaziranga National Park, Keoladeo National Park, Manas Wildlife Sanctuary, Sunderban National Park, Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Park, Western Ghats (39 sites comprising forests, national parks and sanctuaries) and Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area.
Proposal for Khangchendzonga National Park is under evaluation for inscription.