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International Academy on Sustainable Development


The International Academy on Sustainable Development is a capacity building program ideated and implemented by the Research Centre Silvia Santagata – Ebla (CSS-Ebla) and UNESCO through the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe (based in Venice, Italy), with the support of several local partners in the Turin and Piedmont area. The UNESCO Chair on Sustainable Development and Territory Management at the University of Turin joined the initiative as of 2017.

The main objective of the program is to contribute to the achievement of the UN 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals, through an effective advancement of institutional and professional capacities of managing authorities, communities and relevant operators from UNESCO designations.

Launched as a pilot program in occasion of the United Nations Development Program 3rd International Forum on Local Economic Development in 2015, in collaboration with the United Nations System Staff College and the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organization, the Academy is based in the city of Torino (Italy), which hosts three different UNESCO designations.


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

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.

Based on these principles, the first two workshops of the Academy took place in October 2015 and December 2016 in Turin and Piedmont. They saw the participation of a total of 69 participants, from 39 different UNESCO designated areas, now connected by a Community of good practices and knowledge exchange.

Click here to know more about the workshop 2016.


In accordance with the overall spirit of the Academy, the main aim of this year’s workshop is to contribute to advancing professional and institutional capacities of managing authorities, communities and relevant practitioners from UNESCO designations on the selected topic, in order to increase the benefits for the local communities and contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The 2017 programme will tentatively focus on the following UNESCO designations:

  • World Heritage List

  • Lists and Register of the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage

  • Biosphere Reserves included in the Man and the Biosphere programme

  • UNESCO Creative Cities Network

  • Global Geoparks Network

Special attention will be paid to “multiple designated areas”, i.e. local territories hosting more than one UNESCO designation, in order to analyze the potentialities, challenges and possible experiences related to the coordination between different designations.

Main Topics

The workshop will focus on UNESCO Designations and their potential role in addressing sustainable development goals, with specific reference to the UN 2030 Agenda.

Specific topics addressed will be:

  • recognition and interpretation of territorial and community capital

  • integrated management of cultural and natural resources

  • tools and good practices for supporting sustainable development in UNESCO designations


The workshop is primarily aimed at local authorities and other relevant local actors responsible for World Heritage properties, Biosphere Reserves, UNESCO Creative Cities, and elements inscribed in the UNESCO Lists and Register of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Other practitioners, such as scholars/researchers, staff from international organizations, etc. can also apply.


Under the patronage of


Scientific Committee

  • Giovanna Segre (Università di Torino and CSS-Ebla, president)

  • Carlo Salone (Università di Torino-DIST)

  • Patrizia Lombardi (Politecnico di Torino-DIST)

  • Philippe Pypaert (UNESCO Office in Venice)

  • Matteo Rosati (UNESCO Office in Venice)


Academy coordination

  • Alessio Re (Università di Torino and CSS-Ebla)

Workshop 2017



Associated partners

In cooperation with

  • Circolo del Design di Torino

  • Cittadellarte Fondazione Pistoletto

  • Fondazione per l’Ambiente

  • GAI

  • Municipality of Genoa

  • Municipality of Ivrea 

  • Musei Reali di Torino

  • Print Club

  • Slow Food Travel 

  • Toolbox coworking

  • Ageendawifi

Fondazione Santagata for the Economics of Culture is organizer and scientific manager of two International Masters dedicated to the capacity-building of professionals working in the cultural heritage sector for the development of cultural related projects and for the protection and preservation of culture in post-disaster and emergency contexts: the Master in Management and Cultural Projects for Development and the Master in Cultural Property Protection in Crisis Response.

Scientific Committee

  • Jonathan Baker (UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe - Science Unit)

  • Martha Friel (IULM University)

  • Patrizia Lombardi (Politecnico di Torino)

  • Matteo Rosati (UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe - Culture Unit)

  • Carlo Salone (University of Turin)

  • Giovanna Segre (University of Turin)


Faculty and contributions

Monica Abbiati, Jonathan Baker, Enrico Bertacchini,  Carlotta Boffa, Paola Borrione, Otto Bugnano, Mauro Carbone, Roberta Cevasco, Paolo Corvo, Saverio Dani, Franco Fassio, Stefano Fenoglio, Laura Fornara, Martha Friel, Agostina Lavagnino, Frank Lohrberg, Cassiano Luminati, Filippo Margiaria, Angelo Miglietta, Stefano Parise, Alessio Re, Matteo Rosati, Donatella Saccone, Nuria Sanz Gallego, Giovanna Segre, Benedetta Ubertazzi, Gabriele Volpato.

Academy coordination

Alessio Re (Fondazione Santagata for the Economics of Culture)


​Ottavia Arenella, Paola Borrione, Erica Meneghin, Andrea Porta

With the support of

Compagnia di San Paolo, Fondazione Cariplo, Fondazione CRT,

Fondazione CRC.

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