RAWALPINDI: The City District Government Rawalpindi (CDGR), National College of Arts (NCA) and World Heritage Institute of Training and Research for Asia and the Pacific (WHITRAP) have joined hands to preserve historical sites of Rawalpindi.

An agreement in this regard was signed by DCO Sajid Zafar Dall, NCA Director Nadeem Omer Tarar, world heritage institute representative Dr. Ron van Oers at a simple function here at DCO office.

This agreement on strategic cooperation will pave the way for the implementation of the Unesco’s recommendations on the historic urban landscape (HUL).

Rawalpindi is one of a dozen HUL pilot cities around Asia and the only historic city selected by Unesco.

The historic urban landscape, as promoted by Unesco, is the urban area development of the heritage sites which had been ignored in the development process.

Many historical sites being demolished for the development and there was a need to preserve it due to its historical value.

It is a way of seeing and interpreting the city as a continuum in time and space, where countless population groups have left their marks and continue to do so today.

This recognition and understanding should underpin the city’s management, including the conservation of its historic monuments and spaces, which should be integrated into processes of urban and spatial planning.

DCO Sajid Zafar Dall told Dawn that the CDGR has agreed to set up a local working group to work with NCA and world heritage institute’s experts on historic urban landscape research projects.

They will provide opportunities to apply historic urban landscape knowledge and research results into urban planning and development strategies.

“It’s administrative and other input to world heritage institute and Unesco through NCA for development of urban heritage landscape. Basically, Rawalpindi has been chosen by the world heritage institute for promotion of its urban cultural landscape,” he said.

“So, we will be working together for identification of such sites and for renovation in future when the world heritage institute gets the project approved by the World Bank. Proposal has been submitted in this regard,” he said.

Dr Nadeem Omar Tarar, Director NCA Rawalpindi told Dawn that the agreement outlines longstanding and strategic cooperation to jointly organise and execute activities in the context of the implementation of the recommendation including research, an international symposium, training and publication.

“The outcome will be a strategy for urban development planning and historical heritage conservation for Rawalpindi. This strategy will consist of advice on policies and actions for conservation and development, with a sub-division into short, medium and long-term planning,” he said.

World heritage institute, Shanghai, will provide the international network and platform, comprehensive interpretation of Unesco’s Historic Urban Landscape, its characteristics, meaning and potential and suggestions or international experts to support, coordinate, or lead historic urban landscape research projects.

Dr Nadeem Omar Tarar, Director NCA Rawalpindi, stated that the college will coordinate and monitor the overall implementation of the project including research, training, outreach and publication activities.

Dr. Ron van Oers, of world heritage institute, Shanghai, said that the signing of this agreement would lead to a series of initiatives that will bring the rich cultural heritage of Rawalpindi to national and international attention, providing conservation and development opportunities and leading to tangible improvements to the quality of inner city life.