As a 1901 law organisation, headed by Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger, the Champagne Hillsides, Houses and Cellars World Heritage Initiative (CHHC) is the management structure responsible for the property inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List.
The CHHC initiative's main remit, in coordination with government departments, is to ensure that the management plan is properly implemented. The initiative is the local point of contact for the World Heritage Centre and is tasked with promoting the Champagne Hillsides, Houses and Cellars inscription.
An equal number of local councils and Champagne industry professionals make up the organisation, which is supported by corporate sponsors.
The implementation of a coordinated management system for the Champagne Hillsides, Houses and Cellars actively involves all the region's stakeholders through consultation and monitoring bodies that coordinate the management plan’s progress.
The regional conference
The coordination body for all the stakeholders and partners, instigated to meet the need to be coherent and broad-based.
The conference aims to foster a consensus and act as a contracting authority that preserves the Outstanding Universal Value of the property.
Expert advisory board
An expert body that provides the expert support needed to monitor the property. The board is consulted about development projects that may damage the Outstanding Universal Value.
The coordination committee and local committees
These bodies coordinate monitoring of the management plan. They monitor and report back progress made on management plan initiatives, and highlight matters and issues not identified by the plan.
The Tourism, Culture and Communication Committee enables themed projects to be shared at an early stage and allows the collective profile of the World Heritage property to be developed.
The Development/Enhancement Committee brings together stakeholders involved in setting up pilot sites and in enhancement projects.
In 2015, the World Heritage Committee decided to include the Champagne Hillsides, Houses and Cellars on the World Heritage List in the Living Cultural Landscapes category.
This inscription is by no means permanent.
UNESCO asks State Parties to the Convention and managers of the properties to implement regular monitoring in order to check the state of conservation of properties and the protection measures being implemented. Monitoring takes the form of a periodic report completed every six years, in the form of a questionnaire sent to States and management structures. The next periodic report is scheduled for 2022.
With this in mind, a monitoring unit designed to assess the state of conservation of the Champagne Hillsides, Houses and Cellars was established in 2019. The unit coordinates management of the property and enables the issues faced by the Champagne Hillsides, Houses and Cellars and the area of undertaking to be tackled in an objective fashion. The unit is also tasked with providing reasoned and quantified answers to the World Heritage Committee.
Monitoring of the entire property is also undertaken on a day-to-day basis in order to ensure that its Outstanding Universal Value is maintained.
Any inscription on the World Heritage List must be accompanied by a regional management strategy. This is known as the "management plan".
The management plan is the project's scientific and cultural plan. It is the operational strategic framework on the ground and sets out a multi-annual programme of initiatives - short, medium and long-term - to protect, restore and showcase heritage.
The Champagne Hillsides, Houses and Cellars management plan was developed in consultation with local government and the wine industry in order to safeguard the long-term future of the property. This document brings together the undertakings made by the local stakeholders to preserve the property’s Outstanding Universal Value.
The management plan is made up of three documents:
- A management charter for the entire area of undertaking;
- A strategic policy document;
- A programme of themed initiatives.
The structuring of these three documents reflects the desire to involve the entire Champagne appellation and meet the challenge of ensuring integrated and operational management of the property.
Every year, the CHHC Initiative executive and board vote on a partnership work programme in order to rise to the challenges of managing the property and the management plan.
The programme has three parts:
- Coordinate the regional governance platform responsible for managing the property;
- Advise, bring together and share in order to conserve and safeguard the inscribed World Heritage site;
- Raise the profile and increase outreach for both Champagne stakeholders and foreign visitors. The Séjour des Réconciliations, held annually in June, is an event that seeks to raise public awareness about preserving the property and convey the Outstanding Universal Value.