Heritage & Conservation

Training Workshop on Heritage Impact Assessment in Southeast Asian Context: Principles, Methodology and Mitigation Measures, 22-26 April 2024, Melaka, Malaysia

Venue: Melaka, Malaysia

Date: 22 -26 April 2024

At present Southeast Asian countries have carried on a number of infrastructure construction projects in order to support industrialization, tourism and economic development. The projects include the construction of a high-speed rail network connecting major cities in and across countries particularly when ASEAN Community was established and officially operated in 2015, to address industrial estate development and urban expansion. These projects were done within heritage sites or around their precincts. On the one hand the projects are considered essential as they are expected to provide a well-being or better quality of life for the  people who live there or of the whole nation. However, the projects may also intervene or cause negative impacts to heritage sites not only during the construction period but post-construction in the long term. Notably it will be even worse if some impacts make irreversible changes or damages to the heritage sites. Furthermore, the confrontation between heritage conservation and these kinds of projects has always happened and led to social conflicts. As a result, the heritage impact assessment or HIA conceptualized from environmental impact assessment known as EIA was developed to provide a methodology that is credible, scientific, systematic and acceptable among stakeholders, to analyse and assess the impact of the soon-to-be-built projects to the value of the heritage. Through HIA the consultation among stakeholders to agree on the implementation of the projects and mitigation measures in various stages of the projects will be included.

It is noted that unlike in Europe, HIA did not exist in the preparation process when applying for construction license or even widely recognized in most Southeast Asian countries. Somehow HIA is a small part within environmental impact assessment which has not been given serious attention by officials involved, thus becoming a weakness/watershed of conservation because the heritage can be legally devalued or damaged. As such, in order to introduce and support the implementation of HIA in the heritage legislation framework of the countries in Southeast Asia, the training workshop on heritage impact assessment for relevant professionals is needed. 

The impact assessment of construction/development projects to heritage sites in Southeast Asia has been raised by the World Heritage Committee since HIA does not clearly exist in the legal system of Southeast Asian countries but exists in other parts of the world. For instance, due to the development of national logistic and transportation system of Thailand, one of the high-speed train stations will be built in Ayutthaya Province, not far from Ayutthaya City Island which is statutorily protected by Thai law and houses the Historic City of Ayutthaya, a World Heritage property. The Thai National Committee on the World Heritage Convention has requested the Department of Rail Transport to submit a Study of Heritage Impact Assessment of the high-speed railway and station at Ayutthaya to get permission for construction. It should be noted that this request is a result of negotiation to avoid disputes among stakeholders. In addition, for tourism facilities development of the Borobudur Temple Compounds, the World Heritage Committee has requested the authority to develop a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) to show its conservation effort.  However, in terms of heritage management and conservation, HIA can be adopted or adapted to protect national and local heritage from the impacts or adverse changes caused by any project implementation. In order to conduct HIA, it is necessary to understand conservation principles, heritage laws adopted in each country, proper mitigation measures, value and significance of the affected heritage sites as well as all information of the project This training workshop will provide the knowledge and understanding in HIA, case studies from various resource persons and hands-on experience through a selected site in Bangkok or other cities that need to develop HIA.  

  • Department of National Heritage, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Malaysia
  • World Heritage Institute of Training and Research for the Asia and the Pacific Region under the auspices of UNESCO (WHITRAP), PR China
  • Provide knowledge in developing and promote heritage impact assessment including principles, methodology and mitigation measures 
  • Raise awareness on the necessity of heritage impact assessment when large-scale projects are to be conducted
  • Increase the recognition of community participation as one of the important parts of heritage impact assessment
  • Promote and support heritage impact assessment to be included in heritage legislation framework in Southeast Asia

This site-based training workshop will comprise two main parts:

  1. Interactive lectures by resource persons who have long-standing experience in cultural heritage conservation and heritage impact assessment at both regional and international levels, i.e. experts from ICCROM, ICOMOS, and etc. The lecture will include the principle of HIA of both under World Heritage framework and for other heritage sites, example of various assessment methodologies and mitigation measures. 
  2. On-site workshop activities, including field exercises in selected heritage sites to develop heritage impact assessment for the sites.

The course is a 5-day course with a half-day excursion that will take place both in classrooms and on-site. The maximum number of participants will be limited to 25 people, with at least 11 slots reserved for the SEAMEO member states (See https://www.seameo.org/Main_about/92).

Participants should:

  1. be preferably mid-career(5-10 year experience) Southeast Asian or Asian professionals working in cultural heritage conservation and/or management as architects, landscape architect, archaeologists, engineers, urban planners, heritage site managers and etc., and who can make effective use of the result of the training course upon returning to their home countries;  or those with potential of working with heritage, who may be part of a heritage office/authorities, heritage management agencies, urban development institutions or infrastructure construction. 
  2. have English proficiency to allow discussion, exchanges and presentations;
  3. attend the entire training programme;
  4. be in good health and able to participate in the training programme;
  5. submit all of the required documents by the stated deadlines; and
  6. be in a position to continue to exchange information and interact with the organiser after returning to their home countries

Participants will be responsible for their round-trip travel costs to and from Melaka, Malaysia while the course fee covers lunch (5 days) and accommodation (6 nights on a shared basis). Candidates are strongly encouraged to seek financial support from sources such as governmental institutions, employers and funding agencies, and inform organizer of any funding secured or in the process of application. 

It is noted that one participant from each SEAMEO member countries will be covered all expenses including traveling costs, accommodation and meals by SEAMEO SPAFA while up to 5 participants from Malaysia will be provided domestic transportation and meals.

Please fill in the SEAMEO SPAFA application form. To complete the application, the following documents need to be attached with the application form. All documents must be submitted in English.  

  1. Portrait photo (allowed formats: gif, jpg, jpeg, png, tif, tiff, with a maximum file size of 3 MB) 
  2. Official endorsement (allowed formats: pdf, doc, docx, jpg, jpeg, png, tif, tiff with a maximum file size of 5 MB) 
  3. A full professional curriculum vitae (allowed formats: pdf, doc, docx with a maximum file size of 5 MB) 
  4. A brief report (max 2 pages, allowed formats: pdf, doc, docx, with a maximum file size of 5 MB answering the following questions:

Describe a heritage under threats you have involved actively. Explain what the heritage is and what its value and significance are, how the heritage is affected from the identified threats and whether the heritage is under heritage impact assessment (HIA) process or needs to conduct HIA.  

Please note that your personal statement in the application form is a fundamental requirement. You are expected to write: “Why you are applying to this course, what you hope to learn from it, and how it will benefit your professional development and your institution.” 

Working language: English

Course Fee : 750 US$ 

For further information regarding the training workshop, please contact: 

Dr Hatthaya Siriphatthanakun, Senior Specialist in Cultural Heritage Management and Ms Supitcha Sutthanonkul, Researcher via HIA-2024@seameo-spafa.org

Application deadline 

Applications should reach SEAMEO SPAFA by 10 19 January 2024 to ensure inclusion in our selection process.

Only successful applicants will be notified no later than 15 March 2024

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