Jiuzhaigou Consensus on Resilience Capacity Building and Sustainable Development at World Natural Heritage Sites
The global World Natural Heritage sites are increasingly facing traditional or non-traditional negative impacts brought by nature and human society. Heavy rains, earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, and other natural disasters occur frequently, causing catastrophic damage to many World Heritage sites; the global spread of COVID-19 has caused a sharp drop in the number of tourists, which has had a profound impact on the conservation and management of heritage sites. Strengthening resilience capacity building and sustainable development of World Natural Heritage sites has thus become the common responsibility of mankind.
Since the Ms 7.0 magnitude earthquake in 2017, Jiuzhaigou has launched post-disaster recovery and reconstruction, and more recently, actively dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic. On the occasion of the “2021 Sichuan Provincial Conference on Culture and Tourism Development” as well as the full restoration and opening of Jiuzhaigou World Natural Heritage site, an international forum on resilience capacity building and sustainable development of World Natural Heritage sites was held in Jiuzhaigou. The forum was attended by UNESCO, IUCN and other international organizations, representatives of World Natural Heritage sites at home and abroad, academicians and experts. The meeting reached the following consensus.
(1) World Natural Heritage sites are treasures endowed by nature to human beings. They provide us with important ecological service systems, inspire people’s innovation and creation, and are important places for human memories. As a part of nature, we, as human beings, must respect nature, live in harmony with nature, and protect the World Natural Heritage, and take this as a bounden and important responsibility to make it an indispensable carrier of human civilization.
(2) Given the increasing uncertain risk faced by World Natural Heritage sites, managers should strengthen their linkages with UNESCO, IUCN, and other international organizations to seek professional guidance, while, at the same time, actively building good partnerships and networks to strengthen experience-sharing among heritage sites, scientific research institutions, and conservation organizations, thereby promoting technical cooperation.
(3) The post-disaster recovery and reconstruction of World Natural Heritage sites must strictly abide by the World Heritage Convention and the Operational Guidelines, implement the request of the Outstanding Universal Value, organize interdisciplinary and cross-domain collaboration, seek the opinions of multiple stakeholders including various governmental bodies, community residents, professional organizations and the general public, make scientific planning for post-disaster recovery and reconstruction, combine traditional and modern technologies, rely on natural restoration supplemented by artificial intervention, and implement environment friendly restoration with minimal impact.
(4) World Natural Heritage sites should enhance their awareness of disaster prevention and mitigation, ecological environment protection, health and safety, and take effective measures to prevent and cope with geological disasters and enhance their coping capacity relating to traditional and non-traditional threats such as climate disasters and COVID-19, so as to ensure the safety of residents, tourists, and ecosystems.
(5) World Natural Heritage sites should strengthen adaptive management, pay special attention to the application of new technologies such as big data and artificial intelligence in planning and conservation management, improve monitoring and control systems, implement corresponding talent training programs, expand publicity and education, enhance conservation and management capabilities of heritage sites, and comprehensively strengthen resilience capacity building.