Good and Co-operative Governance in World Heritage Sites

Stephen de la Harpe, Louis Kotze

North West University,  Hofman Street, Potchefstroom 2520

The search for an ideal governance system is as old as the idea of government itself.  The UN, through the United Nations Commission for Global Governance has defined governance as: ’.. the sum of the many ways individuals and institutions, public and private, manage their common affairs. It is a continuing process through which conflicting or diverse interests may be accommodated and co-operative action may be taken. It includes formal institutions and regimes empowered to enforce compliance, as well as informal arrangements that people and institutions either have agreed to or perceive to be in their interests.’
Some of the reasons for the interest in good governance in environmental matters, to name but a few, are the plethora of legislative instruments which have a bearing on not only the environment but also planning issues, the silo based application thereof, the different spheres of government responsible for the implementation thereof, and the lack of capacity and knowledge of role players in environmental issues. Because of South Africa’s international obligations in terms of the World Heritage Convention of 1972, and the difficulties encountered in many of South Africa’s World Heritage Sites, the practical implementation of the principles of good governance in such sites will be discussed in this paper. In particular the application of the generally accepted principles of good governance through the use of a so called one stop shop will be investigated. The possible utilisation of mediation, or similar strategies to improve good, and in particular co-operative governance, will also be addressed. This will be done keeping in mind the governance provisions of the World Heritage Convention Act. Specific reference will be made to the Vredefort Dome World Heritage Site as it presents one of the sites with pressing governance issues. The conclusion reached is that the focus need to be shifted to the proper and effective implementation of the principles of good co-operative governance. The legislative and other mechanisms exist, they only need to be properly used.

Presentation Topic

Good and Co-operative Governance in World Heritage Sites


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North West University, Hofman Street, Potchefstroom 2520


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