Bhubaneswar: The three-day-long fifth international biennial conference on “Role of Culture and Heritage in Urban Sustainability” to be held in the city from Friday would have three important discussions, i.e., heritage dialogue series, urban sustainability and climate change and resilience of historic cities besides other topics in which noted speakers from six countries will participate. Fifteen national level experts are also going to present their papers at the meet, which would be held on Infosys campus.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik will inaugurate the event. Director and UNESCO representative to India, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka Shigeru Aoyagi, former director UNESCO, New Delhi, Minja Yang, Dr Dai-Yeun Jeong from Jeju National University, South Korea, Dr J C Gaillard from University of Auckland, New Zealand, Dr Garyfalia Palaiologou of Loughborough University, England, and noted heritage expert Dr Shikha Jain of New Delhi will attend the event.
Addressing a press conference at Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) conference hall here on Thursday, Chairman, Indian Heritage Cities Network (IHCN), Dr M Ramachandran and BMC commissioner-cum-vice chairman, Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) Dr Krishan Kumar said the first-ever international meet on heritage and culture would help the Temple City to manage, showcase and project its heritage wealth in a better way in future.
The major highlight of the event, however, would be yje heritage dialogue series on the Day II to provide a forum for dialogue to understand the challenges in the way of heritage issues. Historians, archaeologists, planners, developers, administrators, NGOs and agencies working onr conservation at local, state and national levels will take part in the dialogue on how development policies and practices can be founded on the cultural heritage, value systems, knowledge systems and institutions of the people, who are the subjects or beneficiaries of the development change.
The objective of the dialogue series is to arrive at policy-level recommendations to address ssues relevant to Odisha and also to raise awareness and be a platform for advocacy. There will also be a discussion on how the traditional communities would benefit from heritage through better participation and greater economic leverage.
Kumar highlighted how the Temple City has successfully come up with two heritage walks under a common platform Ekamra Walks. “Ekamra Walks (Old Town Circuit) has experienced participation of citizens from 25 countries and the Jain heritage site Udayagiri-Khandagiri is also doing fine with the heritage walk Monks, Caves and Kings. We have also started a Heritage Cell in BDA with various experts to take up projects like heritage signage, no hoarding zone in Old Town, change in the skyline of the heritage district with regular enforcement, implementation of guidelines of National Monument Authority. We are preparing a website keeping the tourism potential of our city in mind. It would be unveiled very soon,’’ he added.
Speaking on the 5th International Biennial Conference, IHCN Chairman Dr M Ramachandran appreciated the city’s two heritage walks. “I appreciate this effort and also Bhubaneswar’s initiative to include heritage planning in the Smart City proposal. Hosting of this conference would reinforce the commitment of the State Government and the city authorities towards preservation of Odisha’s heritage and its recognition as an important asset to achieve sustainable development,’’ he observed.
In the past IHCNF has conducted biennials at Jaipur, Hyderabad, Mysore and Pune on theme relevant to the heritage sector with the support of the respective state governments and cities.