World Heritage Cities Meet in Arequipa

Arequipa - Cerro Juli convention center

Cerro Juli convention center in Arequipa, with Mt. Misti in the background.

Mayors and specialists in conservation and urban planning from some 91 cities all over the world are gathering in Arequipa this week, for the 13th Congress of Organization of World Heritage Cities.

The congress, hosted by the mayor of Arequipa, Alfredo Zegarra, is being held Nov.3-6 at the modern Cerro Juli convention center outside the city, a complex that contrasts sharply with the coloncial buildings that have made Arequipa famous.

The theme of the congress is the resilience of heritage cities in the face of change, due to growth and other causes, which can be managed when an all-encompassing approach is made by local and regional public and private levels are involved. Discussions will cover assessment of vulnerabilities and the tools and mechanism to achieve resilience.

The speakers include Rohit Jigyasu, who will report on the projects of the Navy Yard in Philadelphia and the city of Safranbolu in Turkey; Matthias Ripp, on the example of governance and civil society participation in the Mexican city of Oaxaca and Vilnius in Lithuania; Kerstin Manz on the Yangdong project in the Korean city of Gyeongju, and the garden city of Bamberg in Germany; and Joseph King, director of the International Centre of rhte Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property, ICCROM, on the Chilean city of Valparaiso after the October 2015 earthquake, and the Spanish city of Cordoba in the wake of the economic crisis.

Founded in 1993, the Organization of World Heritage Cities has 254 member cities registered on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The current president of the OWHC is currently Basilio Horta, the mayor of Sintra, Portugal.