President highlights the significance of the protection of cultural and natural heritage
Matavun, 9.10.2012 | press release
The President of the Republic of Slovenia, Dr Danilo Türk, attended the conference marking the 40th anniversary of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention on “The Significance of the Convention Today”.
In his address he emphasised that the Convention had anticipated and encouraged a different way of understanding heritage. Although when it was signed, there was no such thing as the concept of sustainable development, the Convention was the first international document to have associated natural values with cultural heritage. In this way, the Convention placed the influence of human activity on the natural environment as well as the need to preserve the balance between the two at the forefront of interest, which is the very essence of sustainable development, the President underlined. He added that the Convention had also unified and brought together the world in its efforts to protect world heritage: in terms of the number of countries that ratified it, the Convention is the broadest international legal instrument in the area of culture.
According to President Türk, the Convention imposes on us the obligation to identify, preserve and protect our cultural and natural heritage at all levels. Inclusion on the prestigious list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites represents our obligation to provide special care for internationally recognised world heritage and preserve all the characteristics that made each site qualify for inclusion. President Türk recalled that the Škocjanske Jame caves and pile-dwellings in the Ljubljansko Barje Landscape Park were followed onto the list by the mercury mining complex in Idrija, Slovenia, and the Almadén mercury mining district in Spain. In this respect, the President raised the question as to whether Slovenia had already exhausted all its possibilities for inclusion on the list.
“The world, Slovenia included, is faced with environmental, financial, demographical and social changes and challenges. Knowledge and appreciation of one’s own cultural heritage and proper care for such heritage are of great national significance also at the present time. These cultural, spiritual, tangible and intangible cultural heritages are respectable traditional values that we cannot and should not renounce even in the current circumstances,” said the Slovenian President, as he particularly highlighted the importance of good cooperation between local and state institutions and between science and civil society in this area.