5 July 2022, Beijing: With the support of the National Association of Mexican World Heritage Cities, on 30 June 2022 the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) organized an online exchange on the protection and development of historical and cultural heritage among five cities from China and Mexico.
The Global South is home to numerous cultural and natural heritage sites. Among the top ten countries with the most World Heritage Sites, four are developing countries, including China and Mexico. This demonstrates great demand for and possibilities of South-South cooperation for better and more connected world heritage sites in the global South.
The online exchange brought together officials and experts from Zhengzhou and Zhangjiajie, China, San Juan del Rio, Tlacotalpan, and Campeche, Mexico, as well as representatives from the National Association of Mexican World Heritage Cities and UNOSSC. Each city representative showcased the history and heritage of the locality and its tourism development through engaging videos and presentations.
On how to reopen the tourism sector and build back better, Ms. Águeda Rodríguez Aguirre, from Tlacotalpan, suggested closer cooperation between the tourism and public health sectors, and that large festive events and performances could help bring tourists back from across the region. Mr. Mingwei Li, from Zhengzhou, introduced how the city combines digital technologies such as virtual reality (VR) with artistic performance to attract younger generation to historical and cultural heritage sites.
Taking the topic further, Mr. Ricardo Rodríguez Dives, from Campeche, underlined that cultural heritage provided a shared bond and a unique sense of belonging to residents. Mr. Yong Wang, from Zhangjiajie, shared local sustainable tourism development practices, including the establishment of the Wulingyuan World Natural Heritage an environmental monitoring system and the comprehensive reevaluation of its animal and plant resources, which was recently completed.
Regarding collaboration among cities in China and Mexico, Mr. Luis Eduardo Guillen Romero, from San Juan del Rio, hopes to form more sister city relationships with Chinese cities after the pandemic.
Tlacotalpan, Mexico; Wulingyuan Scenic Area in Zhangjiajie, China; San Juan del Rio, Mexico;
Cultural performances in Campeche, Mexico and Zhengzhou, China
At the event, Mr. Jorge Ortega, Director General of the National Association of Mexican World Heritage Cities, highlighted the important role South-South cooperation plays in the protection of historical and cultural heritage that has extraordinary value to humanity. With more exchange opportunities in the future, cities in the Global South can better leverage their own strengths and key resources to promote local development.
About South-South Cities Clusters
Under the Cities Project, the “South-South Cities Clusters” initiative was launched on the South-South Galaxy platform as an online community of practice dedicated to facilitating information sharing, knowledge exchange, networking, and project collaboration among cities, local authorities, UN agencies, and other development partners. Currently, it offers interactive thematic spaces on COVID-19 Response and Public Health; Sustainable Tourism Recovery, Heritage Protection and Creative Economy; Sustainable Agriculture Value Chain Development; E-Commerce Development, Digitization and Smart Cities; Disaster Risk Reduction, Mitigation and Resilient Cities; Sustainable Transport, Air Quality, Waste Management, Green Cities as well as Renewable Energy Development.