Experts from 19 French-speaking countries met in Vientiane to discuss ways to preserve heritage sites in urban areas amid growing development and modernisation. According to Lao Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Prof. Dr Bosengkham Vongdara, it is critical to make sure that national and local authorities’ strategic development plans harmonise with the heritage preservation policy.
The seminar was a sideline event to the four-day 75th board meeting of the Association Internationale des Maires Francophones -AIMF, or International Association of Francophone Mayors, which kicked off on Monday the first of April.
In his remark at the seminar entitled ‘Urban Heritage: Preservation and Value Promotion of Urban Heritage under the Solidarity of the Francophone Mayors’, Vientiane Mayor Soukanh Mahalath stated that, Cultural and natural heritage preservation is one of the critically important issues of a city in order to make it a lively place.
Lao Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Prof. Dr Bosengkham Vongdara, said it is critical to make sure that national and local authorities’ strategic development plans harmonise with the heritage preservation policy in order to ensure sustainable preservation and development.”In the case of Laos, a country rich in cultural, natural and historical heritage,” Professor Dr Bosengkham said, “a national heritage preservation policy has been put in place to harmonise socio-economic and urban development with national heritage preservation.”
In his remarks, through an interpreter, AIMF Secretary General Khalifa Ababacar Sall stressed the need to coordinate urban development and socio-economic development plans and the preservation of urban heritages.
French ambassador to Laos Yves Carmona said, through an interpreter, that there are several reasons to preserve urban heritage. He said historical heritage is important to help identify a race of people and for the existence of a nation. In addition, heritage significantly contributes to the development effort by bringing in tourists to admire heritage sites, he added, citing Unesco’s confirmation on the matter.
The AIMF was set up in 1979 under the aegis of the then Mayors of Paris, Jacques Chirac, and Quebec, Jean Pelletier. Vientiane joined the AIMF in 1992. The AIMF comprises 30 mayors as members whose countries are members of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie.
LNTV Lao News broadcast on 4/4/2013