The present paper by Ioannis Poulios reviews the Nara+20 Document, placing it within a broader theoretical framework, setting the questions, and providing suggestions for the future. Given that Nara+20 marks a shift in the evolution of the discipline of conservation, the paper attempts to bring the insight of business strategy, and particularly of “Blue Ocean Strategy”, into the field of conservation.
“Blue Ocean Strategy” is a company’s strategy of breaking the rules in an industry by challenging the mental models that govern its behavior and hinder its ability to evolve. First, “Blue Ocean Strategy” is outlined, with reference to the concept of mental models. Then, the mental models of the discipline of conservation are presented in connection to a review of the Nara Document on Authenticity and especially Nara+20.
Finally, specific suggestions are provided on how the discipline of conservation can substantially challenge its mental models and evolve, achieving “Blue Ocean Strategy”. Key areas of further study in conservation are also identified throughout the paper. Ultimately, it is shown that Nara+20 offers a realistic view of the state and the issues of conservation at present and for the future. By providing a full range of options, Nara+20 defines the boundaries of the current most-preferred conservation approach (i.e. a values-based approach) and brings the discipline to “the edge of consciousness”.
Yet, by not setting criteria to choose among the various options provided, Nara+20 does not substantially challenge the mental models of the discipline. It is argued that the discipline should now move even further — towards the “Blue Ocean” — and specific suggestions from the perspective of strategy are made to this end: first, the development of alternative approaches to conservation such as a living heritage approach; and, second, the merger of UNESCO World Heritage and Intangible Heritage Conventions and Sectors.
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