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Academy on UNESCO Designations and Sustainable Development 

World Heritage - Intangible Cultural Heritage - Creative Cities - Biosphere Reserves - Global Geoparks

Enabling local solutions for global challenges


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The Academy is part of the dissemination activities carried out within the UNESCO Chair in Economics of Culture and Heritage: Strategies for Protection and Development based in Turin.

The Academy was launched in 2015 jointly with the exhibition "Behind Food Sustainability", as a pilot program on the double occasion of the United Nations Development Program "III International Forum on Local Economic Development" and of the EXPO Milan, in collaboration with the United Nations System Staff College and the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organization.

The Academy is mainly based in the city of Turin (Italy), which hosts three different UNESCO designations, related to the World Heritage List, the UNESCO Creative Cities Network and the UNESCO Biosphere Reserves.

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UNESCO designations are the most extended global networks of territories and communities committed to safeguarding their cultural and natural resources as drivers for local sustainable development.




















Based on these principles, the first three workshops of the Academy took place in October 2015, December 2016, October 2017, October 2018 and October 2019, in Turin, Piedmont Region and Lombardy Region. In the past 5 editions, the ACADEMY has reached approximately more than 130 participants from 50 different UNESCO designated areas, now connected by a Community of good practices and knowledge exchange.

Click here to know more about the previous editions.




Relevant actors are faced with the challenge to define long-term policies and short-term actions to effectively manage UNESCO designations, in order to fully harness their development potential while at the same time safeguarding their cultural and natural values. Such objective can only be achieved through an integrated and participatory approach, spanning several policy areas and ensuring the active engagement of all relevant stakeholders. A working paper on such topics, titled “UNESCO Clusters. Towards an integrated management perspective for multiple designated areas” was drafted within the works of the Academy.

In response to the disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, an in-depth survey was launched to assess the impact of previous years’ activities. The research findings were analyzed and presented in a technical report, which offers evidence of the Academy’s positive impact especially in terms of knowledge development, networking and international cooperation.

EDITION 2022-23

The Edition 2022/2023 is structured through an online warm up meeting and five online talks, also online, to anticipate and introduce the topics of the three-day workshop to be held in Ivrea in March 2023. 

The Academy main goals are to provide an opportunity for the exchange of knowledge and territorial good practices at international level on the management of cultural and natural sites, and to contribute to advancing professional and institutional capacities of managing authorities and relevant operators form UNESCO designated sites, in order to increase the benefits for the local communities and contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.



The 2022-23 programme  focuses on the following UNESCO Designations:

​The programme aims to share experiences, define good practices and discuss creative solutions in order to ensure an appropriate and equitable balance between conservation, sustainability and development by implementing a holistic approach to UNESCO programmes and designations and the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.​

Phase 1 aims to  introduce the programme and create a common working context.

Phase 2 is developed through 5 online 'Talks' structured with good practices exchange and question-time, aimed at cross-fertilisation of ideas and work. 

Phase 3 offers the opportunity to work on a study case and enable participants to acquire useful practical tools, exchange ideas and increase the possibility of creating new cultural cooperation networks.

Please find here the complete programme.

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Juliana Strogan, Rjukan-Notodden World Heritage Site

Dimitris Michelogiannis, Region of Crete, Greece

Carla Silva, Regional Directorate of Environment and Climate Change, Azores

Carlo Francini, Historic Centre of Florence WHS and Associazione Beni Italiani Patrimonio Mondiale

Matthew Rabagliati, Head of Policy, Research and Communications UK National Commission for UNESCO

Špela Spanžel, Acting Director-General for Cultural Heritage, Ministry of Culture of Slovenia

Evrim Ulusan, Our City Izmir Association, Turkey

Giacomo Montanari, University of Genova and RollI Days

Amilcar Vargas, Casa Batlló World Heritage Site, Spain

Benedetta Ubertazzi, University of Milan – Bicocca

Mariola Andonegui, San Millan de la Cogolla, Spain

Rubah Saleh, ICHEC Brussels Management School,

Serena Codeglia, Le Strade Nuove and the system of the Palazzi dei Rolli WHSGenova

Cristian Ciobanu, Hateg Global geopark, Romani

Monica Abbiati, Lombardy region, Italy

Donatella Murtas, International Terraced Landscape Alliance ITALIA ICH



Scientific Commitee

  • Jonathan Baker, UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe

  • Enrico Eraldo Bertacchini, University of Turin

  • Paola Borrione, Fondazione Santagata for the Economics of Culture

  • Martha Mary Friel, IULM University

  • Alessio Re, Fondazione Santagata for the Economics of Culture

  • Matteo Rosati, UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe

  • Giovanna Segre,  UNESCO Chair in Economics of Culture


Speakers Edition 2022-2023:


Supported by:

  • Ottavia Arenella

  • Giulia Avanza

  • Erica Meneghin

  • Andrea Porta

  • Serena Meloni