The Nordic World Heritage Association founded in Thingvellir, Iceland
Since 1995 the Nordic World Heritage sites in the Nordic countries have meet annually and together share experiences of how to implement the World Heritage Convention in the Nordic Countries. The 20-year tradition has shown that competence and capacity building amongst the sites can better be achieved through international cooperation and by learning from each other.
Last week the conference was held in Reykjavik but included excursions to Westman Islands and Þingvellir. On the final day of the conference an important step was taken when the Nordic World Heritage Association was founded at Þingvellir. It is an ideal place for it where agreements among people have been reached as early as in 930 AD. The purpose with the association is to implement the World Heritage Convention by continued competence and capacity building amongst the World Heritage sites in the Nordic countries.
John A. Bryde, the newly elected chairman of the association comments on the founding:
” The whole idea with the World Heritage Convention and the World Heritage list is that by shared responsibility amongst the nations for our common heritage they can best be protected for the future. Cooperation is one of the key-word for succeeding. Today the list consists of 1052 sites in 165 nations, where 40 are situated in the Nordic countries where we already have a tradition of working together. We hope that a site-driven formalized organization will lead to a more effective organization, more and closer cooperation but also give new opportunities for the sites and stakeholders of them.”
The founding took place in a symbolic replica of the Law Council that was the leading legal insitituion in earliest time of the aseembly at Þingvellir.