Supporting Azerbaijan and Iran in the transnational expansion of the Hyrcanian Forests World Heritage Site
The Hyrcanian forests extend from the south of Azerbaijan through Iran for approx. 900 km. The largest part of these forests is situated in Iran, a smaller part in Azerbaijan. The variety of elevations, abundant rainfall and the presence of old growth forests lead to a remarkable abundance of species at this site. Following the successful inscription of the Hyrcanian Forests in Iran as a serial World Heritage Site in July 2019, both Azerbaijan and Iran encouraged a new project to cooperate in extending the site in order to cover the rest of these ancient forests in Azerbaijan.
The project aimed to provide Azerbaijan with technical support in order to formulate the nomination dossier and to advise Iran on fulfilling the requirements of the World Heritage Committee set out in Decision 43COM 8B.4. Moreover, the project supported both countries in the realization of the World Heritage Committee's recommendation for the extension and development of a joint management.
The project enabled enhanced exchange between the relevant organizations and representatives of the “Hyrcanian Forest” World Heritage Site in Iran and the new components in Azerbaijan. It also provided international expertise and stimulated knowledge exchange and thus made a significant contribution to the success of the expanded World Heritage Site.
The elaboration and establishment of the essential structures for a coordinated cross-border management as well as the continuous cooperation between the individual parts of the transnational serial World Heritage Site is an outstanding success of this project.
In parallel the project contributed to a better understanding and awareness about the World Heritage Site and these unique forests by means of social media campaigns, printing products, local events and a festival, an image film and an online photo exhibition.