Messages from Dignitaries
Message from the Mayor of Québec City, Bruno Marchand
World Heritage Sites are the envy of all. From Istanbul to Havana, and Quito to Shibam, they attract families, friends, and businesspeople eager to explore their rich history and spectacular heritage. As international travel gradually resumes, we can’t wait to welcome back visitors of all ages from around the globe as they return to drink in the sights and stories our cities have to share.
Even as we wait, however, we should bear in mind the hard-earned lesson brought home over these past two years by the pandemic-induced collapse of the tourism industry: our heritage cities, as fabulous as they may be, belong first and foremost to the people who live there. Without them, they have no heart, no soul. Without them, their spirit fades.
That’s why I’m so pleased with the theme of this 16th Congress of the Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC) we are hosting in Québec City this coming September. Enhancing Liveability in World Heritage Cities is a real challenge for OWHC’s more than 300 member cities. The challenge is all the more salient in this post-pandemic period as we search for new and original ways to revive our tourism industry while at the same time safeguarding the authenticity of our historic cities and districts.
I look forward to joining in the discussions on how to make heritage both a gift from the past and a resource for the future.
See you in September for the 16th OWHC Congress and the 30th anniversary of our organization!
Message from the President, Jacek Majchrowski
In 1991, Québec City hosted the very first International Symposium of World Heritage Cities. 30 years later, the fact that Québec City, OWHC’s headquarters, is to host the 16th OWHC World Congress in 2022, gains a deeper symbolism. The jubilee year and the special location will undeniably make for a historic meeting of city representatives. Congresses invariably encourage exchanges of experiences, inspire reflection and provide guidance in our search for sustainability and attempts at fully tapping the potential of heritage as a developmental resource. Management of world heritage sites and protection of their historic landscapes coupled with meaningful community engagement have always presented challenges unto their own. Now, in addition to climate change and enhancing our quality of life, we are all faced with new challenges and threats such as a global tourism crisis - one of the most important industries of historical cities.
Enhancing Livability in World Heritage Cities – the Congress’ leading theme selected during the 2019 Kraków event, is an attempt at addressing all of these issues. It focuses on the need to strike a balance between contrasting fundamentals and initiate an informed debate.
I do encourage you to join us at the 16th OWHC World Congress! It will be an excellent opportunity to apply the potential, knowledge and experience of the OWHC members for the benefit of our local communities.
Government of Québec marks OWHC World Congress
The Government of Québec is proud to partner with the Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC), which will be holding its 16th World Congress in the Capitale-Nationale region.
The event will be a great way to showcase the city of Québec, recognized as one of the world’s most beautiful cities, and particularly historic Old Québec, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
OWHC is dedicated to helping member cities adapt and improve their management practices in keeping with UNESCO requirements for World Heritage Cities. Its biennial congress brings together hundreds of delegates. Of the themes suggested for this year’s event, economic recovery, the health crisis, and the climate emergency are of particular interest to the Government of Québec. And because this congress will promote economic recovery and business tourism and generate direct economic spinoffs for the host region, the city of Québec sees this as a special opportunity to shine on the international stage.
We applaud international organizations such as OWHC that make such valuable contributions in so many spheres, including the preservation and protection of heritage, and we wish every success to OWHC and Québec as they organize the 16th OWHC World Congress!
Welcome from the Honourable Steven Guilbeault
Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada
As Minister responsible for Parks Canada and on behalf of the Government of Canada, I am pleased to welcome you to the 16th World Congress of the Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC) in Québec.
Parks Canada is Canada’s representative to the UNESCO World Heritage Convention. In this role, Parks Canada supports and advises managers of Canada’s World Heritage Sites, as well as sites on the List of Proposed World Heritage Sites in Canada, in the preparation of their nominations. The Agency also contributes to the conservation and presentation of the world’s cultural and heritage treasures. Since Parks Canada joined the World Heritage Convention in 1976, twenty of our sites have been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
World Heritage Cities are home to the world’s most incredible urban heritage achievements, and are among humanity’s most outstanding accomplishments. The Historic District of Old Québec World Heritage Site is clearly one of them and is an exemplary site to host the OWHC Congress.
I wish you an enjoyable and memorable congress. I’m confident that in the coming days, attendees will have plenty of opportunities to take full advantage of the warm welcome and unique heritage that Old Québec has to offer.