Steering Committee reflects on advocacy efforts

Nearly twenty World Heritage Ohio Steering Committee members met on January 23 for their quarterly meeting between stakeholder organizations in this process. During these meetings, members discuss completed tasks and future projects that move Ohio’s future World Heritage sites closer toward inclusion on UNESCO’s list.

Five members reflected on their trip to Washington D.C. in December. During this time, they met with congressional staff to resolve the problem of the U.S. not paying membership dues to UNESCO, which could adversely affect the chances of Ohio’s sites for nomination. The goal is to push for a limited waiver that would allow the U.S. to pay a portion (est. $700,000 annually) of the dues to UNESCO, specifically designated for the work of the World Heritage Committee.

While they were in Washington, these members also consulted with George Papagiannis of UNESCO and Suzanne Dixon from the National Parks Conservation Association, both of whom have been helping with the Steering Committee’s efforts. The five members also attended the annual ICOMOS Gala.

Representatives from the Newark Earthworks Center at The Ohio State University submitted a proposal to the committee to bring American Indians to the earthworks sites and to solicit their participation in the process. They encouraged the Fort Ancient State Memorial and the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park to do the same.

George Kane of the Ohio History Connection reported that a site management plan for Serpent Mound is in development, informed by a stakeholder meeting and future consultation with Native American tribes in Oklahoma. The goal is to have the plan approved by the Ohio History Connection’s board in June.

Friends of Ancient Ohio Earthworks will host a fundraising event at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History on April 14.

The Steering Committee’s next meeting is set for April 24.