Jim Collinson

After studying Agricultural Economics at the University of Manitoba, Jim Collinson completed a Master's degree in Conservation/Resource Economics at the University of Michigan. Specializing in research and development of energy, economic and environmental strategies, he worked in the public service for nearly thirty years, first for the Government of Manitoba and then at the federal level. Since 1994, he has worked as a consultant with Arnold /Collinson Research and Consulting and has published numerous articles on energy, climate change and natural resource management.

At the head of the Canadian Parks Service (now Parks Canada) from 1985 to 1990, Jim Collinson represented Canada at the World Heritage Committee during this period. At its first Committee meeting in Paris in 1986, he was elected Chairman in the absence of a delegate who was unable to attend at the last minute and was re-elected Chairman at the next session in 1987. Three initiatives marked his chairmanship. First, he suggested that a working group explore the possibility of developing an international tentative list for cultural property through a global study. Secondly, he initiated discussions with the World Bank to ensure consultation with the Committee before funding projects likely to impact on World Heritage sites. Finally, he made a request to the Director-General of UNESCO for an increase in Secretariat resources, which ultimately led to the creation of new posts for the World Heritage Center in the late 1990s.

The following audio clips are from an interview with Jim Collinson by Christina Cameron in July 2010 in Windsor, Canada. He explains his vision of the major objectives of the World Heritage Convention and its contribution at the international level. He also comments on issues of the size and representativeness of the World Heritage List and the political aspect of the Convention, using concrete examples that illustrate the history of this conservation tool.

UNESCO, World Heritage Oral Archives, Canada Research Chair on Built Heritage, University of Montreal, audio interview of Jim Collinson by Christina Cameron, Windsor, Canada, 12 July 2010.