Inauguration of the Extended 44th Session of the World Heritage Committee in Fuzhou (China)
Friday, 16 July 2021
The opening ceremony of the 44th session of the World Heritage Committee took place on 16 July at the Fuzhou Strait Culture and Art Center in Fuzhou, China, marking the start of the Committee’s work, scheduled to continue until 31 July.
President Xi Jinping sent the congratulatory letter to the opening ceremony and it was delivered by Sun Chunlan, the Vice Premier of People’s Republic of China to address the letter. Chinese Vice Premier Sun Chunlan gave her opening remarks in the event. Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay joined the opening ceremony online, and had her opening remark from the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris in real time. President of UNESCO General Conference, Ambassador Altay Cengizer; Chairperson of UNESCO Executive Board, Agapito Mba Mokuythe; Secretary of the CPC of Fuzhou, the host city of the Extended 44th Session of the World Heritage Committee, LIN Baojin; and the Chairperson of the Extended 44th Session of the World Heritage Committee, Tian Xuejun; they all delivered their opening remarks to the event.
President Xi Jinping highlighted the role of cultural and natural heritage for China and the world, “they are also important vehicles in promoting exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations. To better preserve, inherit, and harness these valuable treasures is our collective responsibility.”
Sun Chunlan, the Vice Premier of People’s Republic of China
Chinese Vice Premier Sun Chunlan mentioned in her opening remark: “World heritage is the common wealth of all mankind. The Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage adopted by UNESCO in 1972 has received high recognition and extensive support from 194 signatory states in the world. It is in order to maintain cultural diversity, promote the construction of ecological civilization, and implement the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has made important contributions.”
Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO
Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, expressed her gratitude for the congratulatory letter sent by President Xi Jinping of the People's Republic of China, and thanked China for hosting this conference as the host country. She welcomed the enthusiasm for World Heritage and mentioned “Above all, heritage is at the forefront of the challenges of our time: global warming and the loss of biodiversity.” As well as, “to protect these shared treasures of humanity, the List of World Heritage in Danger is a valuable tool.”
“Change happens in degrees but arrives suddenly!” President of UNESCO General Conference, Ambassador Altay Cengizer said, “We must altogether dread, feel apprehension of any probability that the World Heritage List comes to be seen as any other thing among the plethora of daily happenings.”
H.E. Mr Agapito Mba Mokuy, Chairperson of the Executive Board of UNESCO, emphasized in his opening remark the definition of UNESCO states that “it permits the identification of each other by distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features of society or a social group, and that it encompasses, in addition to art and literature, lifestyles, ways of living together, value systems, traditions and beliefs”.
H.E. Mr. Tian Xuejun, Chairperson of the 44th Session of the World Heritage Committee, mentioned in his opening remarks: “World Heritage a true bond of mutual understanding and friendship, contributing to the 'unity in diversity' among nations and peoples.
Secretary of the CPC of Fuzhou, the host city of the Extended 44th Session of the World Heritage Committee, LIN Baojin expressed his warm hospitality on behalf of the host city. He mentioned, “the Extended 44th Session of the World Heritage Committee in Fuzhou will surely promote the protection of cultural and natural heritage and play an important role in linking human civilization and the sustainable development of the world.”
The concept of the 44th session of the World Heritage Committee is "Humanistic World Heritage", highlighted the characteristics of "Digital World Heritage", and demonstrated the charm of "Green World Heritage". For the first time, UNESCO will review World Heritage agenda online. This conference will review two annual World Heritage projects in 2020 and 2021, including 45 "World Heritage List" pending projects and 258 World Heritage protection status reports, which is equivalent to double the workload of previous conferences. It is expected that the "World Heritage List" and other lists will have important updates.
The event will last until July 31. During this period, countries will hold a series of supporting activities and side events, including the World Heritage Youth Forum, the World Heritage Site Managers Forum, and 8 side events hosted by China.
Director of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre Dr. Mechtild RÖSSLER and Director of UNESCO Beijing Office Prof. Shahbaz Khan
Director of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre Dr. Mechtild RÖSSLER and Director of UNESCO Beijing Office Prof. Shahbaz Khan, will carry on their missions in the next two weeks in Fuzhou.
The Committee’s debates will be streamed online: