Portal de la Cultura de América Latina y el Caribe
International Seminar Integrated Revitalization of Historic Centres in Ibero-America
Speech by Mr Julio Carranza, Director and Representative of UNESCO Guatemala. Photo: Eddy Simaj.
24 July 2015/ UNESCO Office in Guatemala

On 22-23 July, the Municipality of Guatemala, through the Department of the Historic Centre and the United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO) from its Office in Guatemala, conducted the International Seminar Integrated Revitalization of Historic Centres in Ibero-America, within the framework of the designation of Guatemala as the Ibero-American Capital of Culture and the 70th Anniversary of UNESCO.

On Wednesday, 22 July, the opening ceremony was held with the participation of Mr lvaro Arz, Mayor of the City of Guatemala, Mr Julio Carranza, Director and Representative of UNESCO Guatemala, Mr Ricardo Rodrguez, Vice-president of the Cultural Council of the Municipality of Guatemala, among other distinguished personalities.

In accordance with the Carta de Quito (1967), Historic Centres are all those live human settlements, strongly conditioned by a physical structure from the past, recognizable as being representative of a peoples evolution.

UNESCO, in collaboration with other institutions, has held meetings, congresses and seminars seeking to delve into the complexity of the integrated management of Historic Centres and/or Cities.

In Ibero-America successful experiences and practices have been developed in order to count with a management process involving all the actors that form part of Historic Centres.

In this respect, on Thursday, 23 July, the International Seminar The Revitalization of the Historic Centres of Ibero-America was conducted in order to create spaces for dialogue and reflection based on the experience gained in the integrated revitalization of Historic Cities and/or Centres, which would contribute to the development of guiding strategies in integrated management and the enhancement of heritage and its population; to become acquainted with successful experiences in the integrated management plans of heritage cities and/or centres in Ibero-America, and to promote a space for dialogue on the steps to follow for the integration of society in favour of the conservation of Cities and/or Historic Centres.

The meeting counted with the participation of Mr Miguel ngel Prieto, a graduate of the Madrid School of Architecture (ETSAM) at the Polytechnic University of Madrid, majoring in Geographical Information Systems and Urbanism, currently heading the Department of Rehabilitation and Technical Services of the Municipal Housing and Land Enterprise of Madrid; Ms Ins Pazmio Gavilanes, architect, specialist in Cooperation for Development, consultant in heritage themes and with a vast experience in public management (infrastructure and decentralization); Mr Flix Julio Alfonzo, PhD in Historical Sciences on Interdisciplinary Studies of Latin America; and Mr Ricardo Rodrguez, in charge of the revitalization process in the Historic Centre of the City of Guatemala. They all dealt with topics related to Historic Centres, especially those readily recognized as world heritage and whose inhabitants share the same language, culture and history.

The Seminar was developed through the presentation of papers. The first specialist to take the floor was Arch Miguel ngel Prieto, with 1979-1999, 20 years transforming the city. This expert shared his experience in the application of strategies and policies, and their effects on the current development and planning of Madrids Historic Centre.

In the case of Ecuador, specialist Ins Pazmio talked about the importance of citizen participation in the recovery of Quitos Historic Centre and the role of public institutions in its reorganization.

Cuban specialist, Dr Flix Julio, dealt with the possibilities, criteria and management in relation to different rehabilitation cases, sharing his experience in a public model of sustainable integrated development in the Historic Centre of Old Havana.

The Seminar came to a close with the paper by Mr Ricardo Rodrguez, who presented the case of the Historic Centre of Guatemala and its evolution in recent years. He declared, I thank UNESCO Guatemala for generating a space for dialogue based on the sharing of experience, thereby contributing to the development of ideas and the enhancement of heritage for the benefit of the people of Guatemala.

Historic Centres in themselves, and given their monumental heritage, are invaluable, not only for their cultural wealth, but for their economic and social value.

For more information: Mara Fernanda Castellanos, Culture Sector Officer, UNESCO Office in Guatemala. Phone: (502) 2247-0303. E-mail: mf.castellanos@unesco.org

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