Civic body signs MoU with Unesco foundation for heritage conservation

The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Unesco-led foundation for working towards the heritage conservation and its promotion in the city. The MoU was signed on the sidelines of a seminar on economics and heritage structure which started on Monday .

The civic body is all set to benefit from the tie-up, as the MoU has a provision of training PMC staff along with technical expertise on heritage conservation.

At the seminar, the participants emphasised that the importance of heritage lies primarily in its cultural, historical and aesthetic values and sought government's full support in heritage conservation. The two-day seminar is jointly being organised by Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), Indian Heritage Cities Network Foundation, embassy of France and Unesco.

"In allocating limited financial resources, government needs to provide sound economic justification for heritage project. The demand for assessment of costs and benefits of government intervention has often been problematic in the field of heritage conservation whose value is more of symbolic nature and which cannot be easily quantified nor expressed in monetary terms," said a panel of speakers including Shikha Jain, trustee of Indian Heritage Cities Network Foundation, Herve Passamar of Agency for the Development and Promotion of Heritage in France and Prof Christian Ost of Belgium.

There have been efforts to open a dialogue between socio-economic and cultural approaches to heritage management at least on a theoretical level in an attempt to place heritage conservation within a large context of local economic and social development, they said, adding such an academic discussion seems yet to find its application in the actual policy-arena as heritage conservation is still and largely considered a luxury hobby of cultural elite existing outside economic concern.

"It is also seen as a hindrance on the way to faster economic and social development in order to make a case for heritage conservation. The heritage experts and public administrators need to understand the economic implication cost and benefit of heritage conservation," the panel said while pointing out that a heritage building may provide a concrete market value to individuals by its active use as office, shop and domestic dwelling or a tourism place and its economic value may be then quantified by the rental costs or rents in case of the former or entry fee imposed to the visitors in case of latter.

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