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Calendar » Jobs and Cultural Heritage  How to Make it Work?

Jobs and Cultural Heritage  How to Make it Work?

November 30, 2016 | 2:45 PM | TBC



November 30, 2016 (Venue to be confirmed)


Jobs and Cultural Heritage:  How to Make it Work?



Sustainable financing for heritage conservation remains an elusive goal for many countries that are richly endowed with cultural assets but face competing demands for job creation and economic development.  Cultural heritage by belonging to everyone, is the responsibility of no one and faces similar issues as the natural environment and disaster risk management in attracting sustainable investments, even for the most valued cultural sites.  However, it is clear that when investments in cultural heritage are sustained, benefits increase in surrounding communities through the creation of jobs and local economic development. 




2:45pm - Introduction by Paul Kriss, Global Lead


2:50pm - Keynote Speech: Financing Heritage Conservation, Bonnie Burnham, President Emerita, World Monuments Fund


3:05pm - Discussants: Soraya Goga, Lead Urban Specialist, ECA - Guido Licciardi, Sr. Urban Specialist, MNA - You Ji, Urban Specialist, EAP



Background on the Keynote Speech:  Financing Heritage Conservation


Cultural heritage, the bridge between generations, peoples and traditions, is part of the global commons, resources that are held collectively for future generations and belong to us all. Like the natural environment, this legacy suffers from “the tragedy of the commons”, the paradoxical lack of investment in what, by belonging to everyone, is the responsibility of no one.    The issues that confront its preservation of the historic built environment mirror those of natural environment and of equitable social and economic development today:


    • Climate change and pollutio
    • Urban development pressure and its community impact
    • War and natural catastrophe


It is well established that heritage is a social, cultural and economic building block.  However, there are no reliable global funding mechanisms to ensure its conservation.  Government budgets are inadequate to manage even the most prestigious sites, which are under state stewardship; philanthropy is piecemeal and donor-driven rather than strategic; and heritage conservation projects too small and work-intensive to be of much interest to investors and financial institutions.  To adequate finance our common heritage, there needs to be a new, hybrid and innovative approach.


A review of financing in other sectors, such as social development, disease eradication, and environment, yields interesting financial models.  A combination of impact investment with strategies to leverage pledges and contributions would provide a new form of financing for heritage conservation, using mechanisms, such as heritage revolving funds, that exist and are deployed at a local level, but not internationally. 


Bonds, often issued by municipal governments to finance capital and building projects, have become a key element of financing in many philanthropic sectors.  Guaranteed by pledges, program-related investments from foundations, and government commitments, they could provide the resources to pay for heritage conservation project execution, then be repaid with revenue generated by the completed work.  A look at three comparable examples -- social equity bonds, environmental bonds, and the International Finance Facility used to capitalize a global immunization initiative – will provide the framework for a proposal for the creation of a heritage investment fund fueled by capital raised from bonds.


The creation of a new heritage financing entity will be proposed, together with projections of return on investment based on the comparatives above.  Finally, a series of hypothetical projects will be discussed – in Mexico City, Cambodia, and the post-conflict Middle East – to show how this financing model might be applied in the field, create a new way of tool for site managers throughout the world, and pave the way for investment in important heritage sites within their historic contexts. 

Bonnie Burnham, President Emerita, World Monuments Fund