From October 23 to 25, 2023, in the capital of the Republic of Azerbaijan Baku, the First Annual Subregional Conference of the «Silk Road (Phase III)» project, supported by UNESCO and the Japanese Funds-in-Trust (JFit), took place. This event brought together experts and leaders of national commissions in their efforts to preserve the historical heritage of this ancient trade route system.
This significant event was organized through the collaborative efforts of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and the International Institute for Central Asian Studies (IICAS), with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Permanent Delegation of the Republic of Azerbaijan to UNESCO, and the National Commission of the Republic of Azerbaijan for UNESCO.
The conference gathered national coordinators and experts who are part of the Working Group for the Serial Transnational Nomination «Silk Road: Volga-Caspian Corridor». Additionally, the event attracted representatives from UNESCO, Teikyo University, UCL, and IICAS. National experts presented the results of the identification and documentation process of objects related to the «Volga-Caspian Corridor of the Silk Road» and assessed the conservation status of its potential components.
Kazakhstan was represented by experts from the RSE Institute of Archaeology named after A.K. Margulan of the Committee of Science of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan, RSE «Kazrestavratsiya» of the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Cluster Office of UNESCO in Almaty, and the NGO «QazaqGeography».
The main goal of the conference was to coordinate the implementation plan of the project, develop a roadmap, and establish a mechanism for coordinating the nomination process of the «Volga-Caspian Corridor of the Silk Road» for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
At the conference, a report from Kazakh experts was presented, highlighting the main directions of research within the project «Support for the Nomination Process of the Silk Road to the UNESCO World Heritage List» – «Volga-Caspian Trade Route». Experts identified key criteria for the selection of historical, cultural, and archaeological objects for the preparation of the UNESCO nomination heritage.
A special focus was on the presentation by the Chief Manager of the Project and International Activities Department at QazaqGeography, Aida Tabelinova, who presented the main reasons and consequences of the fluctuations in the Caspian Sea level and their connection to the trajectory of the trade and transport corridor of the Volga-Caspian branch of the Silk Road, emphasizing the importance of an interdisciplinary approach in the preparation of the serial transnational nomination. During her presentation, she shared the results of the first UNESCO practical seminar that took place in Aktau from September 4 to 8, 2023.
As a result of the event, the Baku Resolution was adopted, emphasizing the importance of conducting comprehensive scientific research covering the heritage of the Volga-Caspian Corridor of the Silk Road and highlighting the need for structured relationships, coordination, and effective implementation of the nomination process. This event marked a significant step in preserving and promoting the cultural heritage of the Silk Road for future generations.