Archaeology and Economic Development 2012

Heritage-Based Development: A New Paradigm for Developing Countries

Global Heritage Fund’s (GHF) mission is to protect, preserve and sustain the most significant and endangered cultural heritage sites in the developing world.  Working largely in rural poor communities to diversify economic opportunities and livelihoods,  GHF projects are selected using strict criteria developed by its Board of Trustees and Senior Advisory Board, and our work on each project follows a methodology termed Preservation by Design.

GHF will be profiling four (4) integrated heritage conservation and economic development projects to enable long-term preservation and sustainable development of UNESCO World Heritage and Tentative List sites:

1. · Banteay Chhmar, Cambodia

2. · Chavin de Huantar, Peru

3. · Gobekli Tepe, Turkey

4. · Mirador, Guatemala

Major heritage sites in the developing world’s poorest communities ($2-3 a day per capital income) face tremendous loss and destruction in the coming decade due to the fact they are "used by all but owned by no one".

The author will offer recommendations for decision-makers in developing countries and the global development community to greatly improve global heritage site protection, preservation funding and expertise, and policies and legislation to better incorporate the true value of global heritage sites into their development strategies and national planning.

Global heritage sites in developing countries represent a major untapped economic resource for global development to contribute substantially towards the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to eliminate poverty. An earlier GHF report, Saving Our Vanishing Heritage, estimates that 500 global heritage sites in 120 countries can generate over $100 billion annually by 2025, a total net present value of nearly one trillion dollars in national income for developing countries and regions.

GHF estimates that over 200 of the world’s 500 global heritage sites in developing countries are endangered or under serious threat. This represents a potential economic loss of hundreds of billions of dollars in potential economic value in the coming decade if we do not act now to save our global heritage sites.

As examples like Angkor in Cambodia have shown, cultural heritage is one of the most beneficial investments a country can make, with primary benefits that include:

• Highest foreign exchange revenues of any non-extraction industry

• Highest diffusion of revenues across the regional populations

• Long-term sustainable income generation if the resource is protected

• Limited negative impacts to the environment and health of the population

• Highest growth rates—in cultural heritage tourism—of many industry segments

• Increased investments in infrastructure and social services, including health, water, and community development

• Greatest opportunities for the involvement of women in such businesses as guiding, crafts, lodging, restaurants, small businesses, and agriculture

• Increased self esteem and reaffirmation of cultural identity

Today’s global community is only beginning to comprehend the economic value of heritage conservation’s long-term benefits to local communities in developing countries. By actively supporting heritage conservation and investing in cultural heritage, we as a global community can make huge strides toward meeting the UN’s Millennium Development Goals of eliminating extreme poverty, and provide countless struggling nations the new means necessary for a brighter future.

Page last modified on 09 aug 12 18:40