By invitation of the state government, UNESCO envoy

journeyed to three historic villages, including GHF project site

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA (March 11, 2016) – On March 3, 2016, the Global Heritage Fund (GHF) project site of Dali Village received UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Culture, Francesco Bandarin, and his associates. In his first trip to Guizhou province, Mr. Bandarin toured three historic Dong villages – Dali, Zhanli, and Huanggang – at the invitation of the state government.

Personally accompanied by the Director of GHF’s China Heritage Program, Kuanghan Li, Mr. Bandarin was moved by the pristine state of the village and took a thorough interest in GHF’s work with the local community. The official UNESCO envoy expressed deep admiration for GHF’s preservation of what is still a largely unknown heritage site.

Ms. Li related, “We showed the group the various architectural and intangible heritage of the village, and discussed some of the progress and challenges encountered during the conservation process with Mr. Bandarin and his team.”

All three Dong villages are on China’s tentative list for World Heritage Site status, and the government hoped Mr. Bandarin and his delegation could provide some clarity on the conservation of these historic villages, advance their World Heritage Site nomination process, and further international cooperation.

Perhaps one of the most important insights gleaned from his visit to Guizhou was the need to actively preserve heritage. As Mr. Bandarin noted in a meeting with Chinese government officials and heritage experts later that day, the challenges of rural heritage conservation should not be ignored in the rush to address urban heritage issues.

“There is a delicate balance between tourism development and conservation, [and] the need to address and adapt to the requirements of the community while preserving tangible heritage”, Mr. Bandarin said. He ended the meeting by calling for further international efforts, including dialogue between governments on the importance and incentives of preserving these vulnerable, historic villages.

Ms. Li hopes that visits such as this will draw further attention. “We are hopeful that his visit will spur support for the coveted World Heritage Status, not just on the international level, but as a long-term motivator for the people living in these communities.”

About Global Heritage Fund

Global Heritage Fund (GHF) is an international conservancy dedicated to protecting, preserving, and sustaining the most significant and endangered cultural heritage sites in the developing regions of the world. GHF utilizes its comprehensive Preservation by Design® methodology of community-based planning, science, development, and partnerships to enable the long-term preservation and sustainability of global heritage sites. Since 2002, GHF has invested over $40 million directly and secured $25 million in co-funding for 28 global heritage sites in 19 countries, ensuring they remain a viable community asset for many years to come. To learn more, please visit

Press Contact:

Elinor Betesh
GHF Press Relations