UNESCO-sites in a Regionally Sustainable Development Perspective


Tuesday 14 March


  • Welcome address: Jesper Schrøder, Chairman for Greenland's Committee to NORA
  • Opening address: Kim Kielsen, President of Inatsisartut, the Parliament of Greenland.
  • Keynote speaker: Meriem Bouamrane, UNESCO focal point for the intersectoral biodiversity strategy within UNESCO including with CBD and IPBES and UN Environmental Management Group.


10:30   SESSION 1 – Perspectives

UNESCO defines world heritage, geoparks and biosphere areas. We also talk about protected areas, national attractions, cultural heritage and man's relationship with nature. But how should the relationship between nature, culture and values be perceived fundamentally?

  • Jógvan D. Hansen, Philosopher, University of the Faroe Islands (Faroe Islands)
    • Man´s perspective on nature and culture. Why does it matter? Through history we have seen different views on nature, culture, and the relation between these. The western perspective has been predominantly anthropocentric. But are there other ways of seeing the world and which consequences would it have?

  • Helga Hvanndal, Vatnajökull National Park (Iceland)
    • A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE: AN INTERGENERATIONAL PERSPECTIVE. How do we change man's relationship with nature? How do we stop "treating nature like a toilet" (quote: Antonio Guterres)
  • Paninnguaq Fleischer-Lyberth, Site manager (Greenland)

12:00   LUNCH

13.00   SESSION 2 – Strength in community

How to establish useful cooperation across the NORA region and beyond. How do you choose the right strategy and how do you establish effective and relevant networks?

  • Meriem Bouamrane, Chief of Section on MAB Research and Policy: Ecology and Biodiversity (UNESCO)
  • Eleanor Haine, Program Officer, Canadian Commission for UNESCO (Cancelled)
  • Kristian Bjørnstad, Manager Norwegian Parks Association, Chair of Europe's Nature Regional Landscape Parks Task Force (Norway)
    • Landscape designations in Europe. How a variety of parks and UNESCO-areas have developed in the north, and some ideas for further collaboration in the NORA area.
  • Jóhan Pauli Helgason, Visit Faroe Islands, (Faroe Islands)
  • Ragnhildur Sigurðardóttir, General manager, Snæfellsnes Regional Park (Iceland)
    • Snæfellsnes Regional park and possible UNESCO Men and Biosphere area
  • Mads Wolff, Director, Senior Adviser (Denmark)


  • Dog Sledding
  • Snowmobile
  • UTV
  • Guided Tour in Sisimiut

19:00   Dinner in Hotel Søma

Wednesday 15 March

08:30   SESSION 3 – Status

The situation of UNESCO sites in the NORA region. National and Nordic presentations also include the intangible cultural heritage and how these can benefit the business development in the area.

  • Kristina D. Christiansen, Curator (Faroe Islands)
    • Intangible Cultural Heritage as a Resource for Sustainable Development
  • Hans Harmsen, National Museum Nuuk (Greenland)
    • UNESCO World Heritage in Greenland: challenges and opportunities
  • Anders Karlsson, Technical Manager, Vega Municipality (Norway)
    • World Heritage culture landscapes – benefits and limitations
  • Jukka Siltanen, Phd candidate at the University of Iceland (Iceland)
    • World Heritage Sites in Iceland – economic impacts and management considerations


10:30   SESSION 4 – Perspectives from outside

Concrete experiences from the outside, which tell about how the status as a UNESCO site has affected local areas. We hear about specific cases, but also about larger and more general thoughts in this connection, including good and less good experiences with administration and about what challenges have arisen and how these have been resolved.

  • Tove Damholt, Director World Heritage Office, Stevns Klint (Denmark)
    • Partnerships – co-creating a change for life: How the local businesses, associations, and organisations surprised us in their overwhelming wish and ability to create a positive change for their local community based on our core story and UNESCO World Heritage values.
  • Daniela Cox, Galapagos Islander & Naturalist Guide (Galapagos Islands)
    • Who are we managing the Galapagos flora and fauna for?: The evolution of the Galapagos Management Plan from a local perspective. Lessons on three iconic conservation projects and policies at the Galapagos National Park and Galapagos Marine Reserve. The message of this presentation is to share experiences proving that local community participation ensures management across stakeholders.
  • Inga Burton, Programme Manager Islands Deal (Orkney Islands)
  • Johanna MacTaggart, National Coordinator - UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) (Sweden)
  • Jean Philippe Lafontaine-Messier, Executive Director, Manicouagan Uapishka Biosphere Region, (Québec Canada)

12:15   LUNCH

13:00   SESSION 5 – Current potentials for development

Authorities and stakeholders discuss perspectives and potential for development at local, national and international level, as well as from a business and entrepreneurial perspective.

  • Sarah Elizabeth Woodall, Acting Director, and Tourism Destination Manager, Innovation South Greenland (Greenland)
  • Einar Á.E. Sæmundsen, Director Thingvellir National Park. Chair of the Nordic World Heritage Association (Iceland)
    • Different levels of networking between sites, different aspects of management at sites drawing examples of sites in Iceland under high tourism pressure e.g. Thingvellir national park in Iceland as an example. Infrastructure planning to enchance experience but also to safeguard sites: Be careful what you wish for - in a management sense.
  • Armgarð Weihe, General Secretary, the Faroese National Commission for UNESCO, Ministry of Culture (Faroe Islands) 
    • The island of Koltur – a future World Heritage Site in the Faroe Islands? The World Heritage Convention has been in force in the Faroe Islands since 1980, but still there is no World Heritage Site in the Faroes. What is the current situation, and how can the Faroe Islands contribute to and benefit from the development of cultural and natural heritage designations in the North Atlantic region?
  • Trude Søilen, Managing director, the Fjordcoast Regional- and Geopark. Vestland County (Norway)
    • Parks as cooperation models for integrated visitor management and the development of regenerative tourism


15:00   SESSION 6 – Workshop, conclusion


19:00   Dinner in Hotel Sisimiut