FOCUS “Viewpoints from France and Sri Lanka on cultural heritage conservation and valorization challenges, tools and opportunities”. [fr]

Following the projects implemented in 2015 - and especially the series of “Focus on Climate Change” in view of the Paris Conference on Climate, COP 21, the scientific component of our 2016 cultural program will address another issue related to sustainability, by exploring the question of heritage management.

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In its many years of presence in Sri Lanka, France has been developing the competences and innovative tools to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage including ancient archaeological sites, such as Anuradhapura, museum collections, oral traditions and other forms of intangible heritage.

Directly in line with this expertise, the French Agency for Development has recently approved a 52 M EUR loan to finance the Anuradhapura Integrated Urban Development Project. This initiative is part of the Strategic Cities Development Program (SCDP) within the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development. Not only does it aim at protecting and enhancing a major archeological site, but it also seeks to develop a more integrated approach to urban planning. The AFD in Sri Lanka has identified multiple priorities such as water management, integrated urban mobility, etc. The valorization of heritage in the Anuradhapura’s project includes the financing of new urban infrastructures, and creates the basis for a development process adapted to Sri Lanka, taking into consideration the island’s peculiarities and the immaterial aspects of its culture.

To support to this major project, a series of three events “Focus on heritage and sustainability”, including conferences, workshops and debates, will be organized in partnership with the AFD over the year, in March, June and October. This programme seeks to highlight the challenges cultural and natural heritage is facing globally today. The first “Focus” of our series took place on the 24th of March at the Galle Face Hotel, main hotel partner of the Embassy, in partnership with the AFD and under the patronage of Mr Jean-Marin SCHUH, Ambassador of France to Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

During a half-day conference, French and Sri Lankan experts were invited to exchange “Viewpoints from France and Sri Lanka on cultural heritage conservation and valorization challenges, tools and opportunities”.

To share their knowledge and good practices in view to promote heritage as an asset for development, the following experts were invited:

  • Mr. Neil Kiriella, Chairman, Sri Lanka Heritage Foundation
  • Mrs Dhammika Wijayasinghe, Secretary general, Sri Lanka National Commission for UNESCO
  • Mr Prasanna B. Ratnayake, Addl Director General, Department of Archaeology
  • Mr Christophe Pottier, archeologist
  • Mr Alfred Peter, paysagiste urbaniste, founder of the Alfred Peter Studio
  • Pr. Xavier Greffe, Senior researcher, Professor of Economics, University Paris 1, Panthéon Sorbonne
  • Mrs Corinne Langlois, Addl. Director General, Bordeaux Urban Planning Department,

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Over 120 participants from various backgrounds took part in the conference, which was a great success. Such a diverse audience, with public authorities’ representatives, academics, members of the civil society and the corporate sector; is the best testimony to the growing awareness of the role of culture in the development of heritage management’s solutions in a large-scale perspective and the need to develop heritage management’s plans.

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Online 07/06/2016

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