Taking inscription on board


The inclusion of the Mining Basin on the World Heritage list in June 2012 is but the first stage in a long process to hand down the values inherent in this recognition. Further to the media « buzz » generated by the event, the vast majority of inhabitants of the Mining Basin are well aware that they are living in a territory listed as World Heritage. This date marked the start of a new outlook on mining heritage, obviously worthy of interest since it had gained global recognition. Indifference and even contempt for this heritage have not evaporated overnight. Hence the need to explain the reasons for this distinction and to raise awareness as to the outstanding universal value of the Mining Basin.

This educational effort is indispensable to help the inhabitants to take the inscription on board, and is important in many ways. Showing listed heritage off is firstly a matter of projecting a sense of pride among those living in outstanding territory and inviting everybody to become ambassadors for this inscription, sharing it with as many other people as possible. Moreover, explaining why the Mining Basin was distinguished has prompted some inhabitants to take on « sentry duty », on the lookout for any damage to their heritage. They will sound the alert should any sites be endangered. Lastly, transmission is indispensable to perpetuate the positive knock-on effects generated by this international recognition: proof that collective mobilisation can be fruitful, a new-found sense of self-esteem that goes hand in hand with an entrepreneurial spirit and the opportunity for urban planning that can raise standards in terms of architecture and habitat.

The ten years needed to achieve inscription seem very short compared to the long-term mediation project to be conducted to help the inhabitants of the Mining Basin embrace a sense of pride in the outstanding universal value of their territory.