Cities, home to more than 50% of the world's population, are facing the growing challenge of building synergies between economic development and heritage conservation. In recent years, Culture Ministers of Asia and Europe have also encouraged, through the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) process, a bi-regional dialogue on the challenges and opportunities of managing urban heritage for a sustainable future.


In light of these ongoing debates on the future of cities, policies and practices of urban heritage conservation gain greater significance and call for a deeper analysis of related challenges, including notions of ‘investment’. Investment in heritage cities goes beyond the economic dimension, which attracts capital, tourists and talent to the city. It also includes a social dimension that includes community empowerment and human capital development. Such a holistic approach is the need of the hour in cities across Asia and Europe, which currently face the predicament of reconciling urban heritage and new developments.


To carry forward these discussions, ASEF organised a two-day Experts’ Meeting and Public Forum, Investing in Heritage Cities: Stimulus for Sustainable Tourism and Livelihoods in Yangon, Myanmar on 24-25 June 2013. The meeting aimed to create a platform for knowledge sharing on sustainable urban conservation policies and practices in Asia and Europe, and foster stronger networks among heritage professionals across the two regions.


Around 30 experts from 18 member countries of ASEM participated as panellists. Participants included representatives of civil society organisations, as well as public officials (representing both ASEM governments and international organisations). The entire proceedings were open to the public and media.


The programme and report of the meeting are available in the Documents section of this webpage.


The 5th ASEF Experts’ Meeting and Public Forum is part of a long-running dialogue series on policy issues of mutual interest and common interest for Asia and Europe. Past Experts' Meetings and Public Forums have taken place in Yogyakarta, Indonesia (2012), Melbourne, Australia (2011), Seoul, Korea (2011) and Amsterdam, Netherlands (2010). 


Organised with the support of:


Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Italy


Ministry of Foreign Affairs, France