Weining Cao, on the Case!
Helping secure the proper role for cultural heritage in the grand scheme of international sustainable development is a tall order, but not one ICOMOS has shied away from. US/ICOMOS is doing its part, with several of our members contributing to these global efforts. Happily for them, this summer their volunteer work is getting a boost from US/ICOMOS intern Weining Cao. Weining, who is pursuing a Master of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley, is extraordinarily well qualified for the challenge. He comes to the US with a Major in Urban Planning from his home country of China, as well as prior internships at the China Academy of Urban Planning & Design and at Tongji University’s National Research Center of Historic Cities in Shanghai.
Weining’s help couldn’t be timelier. The passing of the Millennium in 2000 inspired the World to set 15-year global development goals called the Millennium Development Goals. Fifteen years later, with those goals concluding, the international community is again at work articulating a new global framework for sustainable development in a process generally known as the Post-2015 Development Agenda. These efforts are simultaneously culminating in four key processes, each with profound consequences for historic preservation:
• New 15-year sustainable development goals (the so-called “SDGs”) for the world expected to be adopted by the UN General Assembly in September-October, 2015;
• The third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, to take place in Quito, Ecuador, from 17-20 October 2016 (“Habitat III”);
• The United Nations Climate Change Conference (“COP21”) being held in early December of 2015 in Paris; and
• The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.
Weining’s particular focus has been Habitat III. He describes his summer work this way:
“During the internship, I will help the US/ICOMOS to track the inclusion of culture and heritage in the plans for the UN Habitat III meeting to be held in Quito, Ecuador in 2016.
Based on this, some specific tasks will be to assist in the drafting and preparation of an ICOMOS Concept Note on “Urban Culture and Heritage” and coordination with efforts to incorporate the ICOMOS Concept Note into the UNESCO Issue Paper being developed on this topic.
In the first few weeks, I did the desktop review to become familiar with Habitat III conference, urban SDG, post-2015 development agenda and other related topics. When I searched for some available information online, my main focus is to find out the current status of the culture and heritage subtheme of the issue paper as well as to look for new development in terms of the status of UN Sustainable Development Goals Target 11.4 on protecting heritage and of efforts to set a primary indicator for SDG Target 11.4. Up till now, I have familiarize the context and have written a memo showing the feedback from various cultural related groups on the indicators provided by UN Statistical Commission.”
Today was a particularly busy day for Weining’s ICOMOS team, with key submissions due in several UN civil society consultations on a variety of topics implicating the role of cultural heritage in global urban development. With Weining’s help, ICOMOS met the deadline! You can read two of today’s submissions here: https://www.habitat3.org/comment/reply/500323/85917 and https://www.habitat3.org/comment/reply/500332/85890.