World in your hands;Secondary;Development education;Reviews;Books

15th October 1999 at 01:00
WORLD HERITAGE IN YOUNG HANDS. Educational resource kit for teachers. UNESCO

This handsome resource for secondary schools is sponsored by the unlikely combination of a Norwegian charity and a French bio-chemical corporation. It exhaustively explores the World Heritage concept, the UN Convention of 1972 and the mechanisms used to nominate criteria for categorising cultural and natural sites that are "part of a universal patrimony whose protection is the duty of the international community as a whole". There are 582 such sites in 114 countries, with 25 listed as "in danger", including the Yellowstone and Everglades national parks in the United State.

The pack supplies a copy of the convention, 25 large laminated photographs of selected sites, from an elderly German ironworks to glaciers in Argentina, and details of selection criteria. It would have been interesting to learn of sites nominated but rejected, but presumably that would have been too sensitive a topic for a UNESCO publication. There are maps and brief descriptions of all sites, contact addresses and reference material. The 40-plus "student activities" include role play and fieldwork.

The editors avoid the hazard of information overload by identifying themes - the origins and nature of the convention, the often awkward relationship between heritage sites and tourism, environmental concerns and sites involved in conflict.

The final theme is "heritage and national identity". I'm not sure how many British breasts swell with pride at the thought of Gouch Island and Henderson Island, two of the 17 UK World Heritage Sites. But naming the other 15 would be excellent pub quiz material.

Though glossy and substantial, this is a pilot publication, and copies might be available free on application to UNESCO, if you return the 11-page evaluation. Hurry while stocks last!

For details contact UNESCO (WHCASPnet), 7 Place de Fontenoy, 75352 Paris 07 SP France. Relevant web sites: http:www.unesco. orgwhc and unesco.orgeducprogasp

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