The conference is part of Quang Nam Heritage Festival 2017 held by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Vietnam National Commission for UNESCO, UN-Habitat Vietnam and Quang Nam People's Committee.
Dinh Van Thu, Chairman of Quang Nam People’s Committee, recalled Hoi An's important value as it was one of Champa's main port cities. In 17th century, Hoi An prospered and became a key international port city for Nguyen Dynasty for three centuries. Currently, there are over 1,000 old buildings of both western and eastern architecture. In 1999, Hoi An was recognised by UNESCO as a world heritage site.
Vietnamese local authorities, as well as international organisations, have implemented various measures to preserve and develop Hoi An. However, there are many challenges they are facing such as climate change and erosion.
Chief Representative UNESCO Vietnam Susan Vize said Hoi An was an example of how rapid economic growth and urbanisation were taking place in almost every historic city in Asia. While those cities are important to the countries' socio-economic development, especially the tourism sector, they are also being badly affected and this begged the question about sustainable development.
The conference reviewed the Hoi An Declarations 2003 and 2009. The Hoi An Declaration on Urban Heritage Conservation and Development 2017 was launched on the same day with 10 principles agreed upon. The conference also aims to call for ideas to preserve and develop the town sustainably from individuals and local agencies.