Harald Plachter

Harald Plachter studied chemistry, biology and zoology at the Friedrich-Alexander University in Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany, where he obtained his doctorate in 1978. The following year he became head of the Department for the Protection of species and biotope at the Bavarian Environmental Protection Agency in Munich. At the same time he taught at the Universities of Erlangen and Ulm. In 1990, he obtained a teaching position at the Faculty of Biology at the University of Marburg, where he set up the Department for Nature Conservation.

His involvement in World Heritage began in 1992 when he joined the German delegation to the Committee as an expert on natural heritage. In addition to attending Committee meetings until 2004, he participated in several expert meetings, including the 1996 meeting at the Vanoise National Park in France on the definition and criteria for natural heritage. He has also been involved in several conservation organizations, including the German National Committee for the Man and the Biosphere Program (MAB) and the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas. He was also briefly Vice-President for World Heritage at IUCN until 2005. His many publications include Cultural Landscapes of Universal Value, co-edited with Mechtild Rössler and Bernd von Droste (Fischer Verlag, 1995) and, more recently, Large-Scale Livestock Grazing: a Management Tool for Nature Conservation (Springer, 2010).

The following audio excerpts are from an interview with Harald Plachter by Christina Cameron and Mechtild Rössler in July 2011 at Mainz, Germany. He comments on the growing imbalance between the role of professionals and diplomats in the Committee and the influence of this on the work of the Advisory Bodies. He also highlights some of the Convention's limitations, such as its powerlessness vis-à-vis commercial enterprises and its low level of recognition among the general public in several countries.

UNESCO, World Heritage Oral Archives, Canada Research Chair on Built Heritage, University of Montreal, audio interview of Harald Plachter by Christina Cameron and Mechtild Rössler, Mainz, Germany, 1 July 2011.