Newly unveiled plan incorporates community integration, sustainability into Petra preservation

 A ceremony was held in Petra on Tuesday to celebrate the endorsement and launch of the first Petra Integrated Management Plan (IMP), as the culmination of a long-term partnership between the UNESCO Amman office, the Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority (PDTRA) and the Department of Antiquities (DoA). 
Chief Commissioner of PDTRA Suleiman Farajat, in his welcoming address at the ceremony, said: “As Petra has received one million tourists this year, this Integrated Management Plan is timely, as we work towards strengthening measures for the protection of the site and managing site users in a way that protects it for the future generations. PDTRA commits to the implementation of the IMP in collaboration with all stakeholders, including the local community,” according to a UNESCO statement.
 Since 2015, PDTRA has partnered with UNESCO and the DoA in developing the plan, which is the first to be officially authorised after the inscription of the site on the World Heritage List, according to the statement. 
This "participatory and consultative process" initially began with the elaboration of a roadmap for the identification of possible shortfalls in previous planning initiatives, and progressed to include the preparation of the plan. 
The IMP is the result of "collective contributions" by several stakeholders, ranging from the local community to academia and the government, the statement said.
UNESCO Representative to Jordan Costanza Farina delivered an address expressing her “sincere appreciation” for the collaboration seen throughout the development of the IMP. 
“The Integrated Management Plan is among the first management plans to reflect the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as it is rooted in the commitment to address concerns related to environmental sustainability, resource management and local economic and social development. UNESCO recognises culture as main contributor to the realisation of all 17 SDGs and acknowledges its power as a driver of sustainable development,” Farina was quoted in the statement as saying.
Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Majd Shweikeh also addressed participants and expressed her gratitude. “An exceptional site like Petra requires an integrated, transformative approach to manage heritage and planning. The final Petra Integrated Management Plan fully meets this need by promoting a participatory and sustainable approach to preserving heritage that ensures the tourism objective of the site and the participation of the local community,” she said in the statement.
PDTRA will now lead the implementation of the plan over the next five years, in accordance with the action plan, according to the statement. 
Petra was registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985. The preservation of this site is a “key component” of the technical support provided by UNESCO to the national authorities in charge of the conservation and management of Jordan's heritage, the statement concluded.

Jordan Times 
26 November 2019