My Heritage 2. Dec 19

The Heritage in Retrospect

One of the most frequently asked questions the Working Group of Chiang Mai World Heritage Initiative Project (CMWHIP) has been getting is – What must we do to make our city a World Heritage site? The direct answer is to convince the committee at UNESCO that Chiang Mai holds such outstanding universal value that fulfills the criteria stipulated by UNESCO.

Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) refers to cultural and natural values that are significant not only for a particular country, but rather values created by interchange of mankind in the past and present and for the future. OUV would survive the test of time only under proper protection, conservation and management.  The Working Group for CMWHIP will submit Chiang Mai OUV in the document called Nomination Dossier which includes Sustainable Conservation and Management Plans for the proposed World Heritage site.

According to UNESCO, OUV is justified by the three pillars; 1) that the value meets with World Heritage selection criteria, 2) that the value has integrity and authenticity, and 3) that the value is protected under the OUV management plan.

“Our Working Group began officially in 2016 covering six different scopes of work that run simultaneously. These scopes are; participation process, research process, documentation, management plan making, networking and public relations. The management plan for Chiang Mai World Heritage is different from other World Heritage sites around Thailand as the proposed areas lie over communities. Therefore we need to come up with a new approach which draws all groups of stakeholders into the management plan” explains Ajirapa Pradit, Working Group member.

Ajirapa adds that OUV is an important tool to make Chiang Mai residents aware of the values our city has. Seeking World Heritage inscription, on the other hand, becomes a universal tool to share appreciation of what we have and help mobilize all conservation and development efforts with sustainability in mind.

“Many are worried that the World Heritage status will keep off the locals from the city we are so well acquainted with, like what has happened to some of the World Heritage sites around the world. But as we perceive ways of life as part of our heritage, we do want to preserve our ways of life as well. And so we include participation in our process and World Heritage status will not detach residents in our communities. Moreover, the status will not freeze Chiang Mai stiff in its past. We will work with every segment to steer our city into the direction where all can benefit fairly” says Ajirapa.

Outstanding Universal Value (OUV)

Chiang Mai has set the criteria for Outstanding Universal Value: OUV as follows:
Criteria (ii) To show cultural exchange and subsequent influence between nations as evident in the city planning with sustainable irrigation management.

Criteria (iii) To present ‘Lanna Tradition’ as an evidence of civilization that has been passed on to the present. Almost all of Lanna traditions are associated with places, historical sites and communities in the property zone.

Criteria (iv) To highlight architecture and fine arts in temples and religious places to illustrate the development in cultures, science and technology of the people within the property zone.