Sustainable Ambassadorship Concept

Everyone has the potential to be an ambassador. The involvement and commitment of people, organisations, companies and authorities in a World Heritage site is a necessary precondition for long-term sustainable development. 

The DUNC project has developed a general concept of ambassadorship in order to meet the need for awareness and engagement raising activities at the World Heritage sites involved in the project.

Five Types of Ambassadors

Different types of ambassadors were identified at our sites, that were targeted in different ways.

  1. Persons who work on a daily basis with the World Heritage, for example World Heritage Coordinators or World Heritage Guides. They were invited to take an active part in our project and were encouraged to share their knowledge.
  2. Persons with a keen interest in the World Heritage. These are persons who actively engage in the World Heritage but are not working professionally with it. For example, volunteers and persons in local associations. They were also invited to take an active part in our project and were encouraged to share their knowledge. They were invited to our ambassador training courses and other events.
  3. Local inhabitants were invited to strengthen the knowledge and pride among residents about their unique World Heritage sites. They included pupils from local schools or business people like hoteliers, restaurant owners and shops keepers. 
  4. World Heritage Ambassadors can be outstanding family businesses, providing a high-quality touristic product by acting in a sustainable way, in terms of environmental, economic and social aspects.
  5. Visitors to a World Heritage site.

Local inhabitants, visitors and businesses were targeted with general information about their World Heritage sites and campaigns through social media and public spaces.

All these activities were created and carried out to increase knowledge and awareness so they could pass it forward.

It's important and desirable if a visitor meets a random inhabitant on the street and asks a question about a World heritage site that the inhabitant should know what to answer and be proud of their World Heritage.

In fact, an ambassador can be anyone who speaks positively about a UNESCO site and is an advocate for its sustainable development.

Different Needs at Different Sites

We also recognised the different needs at different World Heritage sites, which means that the communication and training had to be adapted to local conditions.

What was common was the effort to raise awareness, to target each group in the most appropriate way. To start with existing networks that were found among activities, events or phenomenon which already are up and running in our heritages were used. By doing so, our first "ambassadors" were people that were already familiar with their own heritage.

Events where awareness could be raised included World Heritage Days/Week, Food festivals and other Off-season festivals.

Raising Awareness of other Sites

One common theme of our ambassadorship has been raising awareness of each other's sites and other sites at local events, festivals and meetings. A South Baltic presentation has been included and has also been used in the ambassador training as well as a short film showing the 4 World Heritage sites in the project:

Greetings from four of the World Heritages in the South Baltic

A 3-D gallery has been created to walk around and enjoy the sights from these World Heritage sites as well as showcase entries from a Photo competition the purpose of which was to capture the beauty of the sites. This has also resulted in a Calendar to raise further awareness of the World Heritage sites and a South Baltic Sea World Heritage exhibition which has been shown at the Naval Museum in Karlskrona and at Naturum Ottenby, Öland. The goal was for visitors to be inspired and curious about these beautiful sites by learning more about them.

The South Baltic World Heritage Gallery

The work of our ambassadors and who are our ambassadors has been highlighted in short films which have been shown on Social Media and on our websites.

International Network of Ambassadors

All ambassadors that have taken part in an ambassador training have the opportunity to become part of an international network of ambassadors, mainly through this online platform. In the future we hope this will lead to opportunities to meet in person and see the different World Heritage sites involved.

In order to inspire other World Heritage sites and Biosphere Reserve areas to work with Ambassadorship please look at our examples: