New Sites to be added to World Heritage ListAmendments have been made to the following text due to the withdrawal of two proposals (one for an inscription and one for an extension):
Paris – Some 30 sites are to be added to the World Heritage List next week. These treasures of humanity’s cultural and natural heritage will be inscribed during the 27th session of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee, taking place at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris from June 30 to July 5.
UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura will address the opening session of the meeting, which will be open to the press (Monday June 30, 10-11 am, Room XII, accreditation necessary). Subsequent Committee meetings will be closed to the public.
The Committee will examine 37 nominations for inscription (26 cultural, seven natural and four mixed) this year. They will be presented by 32 countries: Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Gambia, Germany, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Mongolia, Poland, Portugal, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Vietnam, Zimbabwe. The Committee will also consider nominations for six extensions of previously inscribed sites in five countries (Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, Panama).
In addition, the committee will review the List of World Heritage in Danger which currently features 33 sites. These are sites that are vulnerable to serious threats caused by, for example, industry or mining pollution, looting, war, uncontrolled tourism, poaching, etc. The list, which includes sites such as Angkor (Cambodia), the Minaret and archeological remains of Jam (Afghanistan) and Timbuktu (Mali), may be modified by the Committee.
To date the 1972 Convention on World Cultural and Natural Heritage protects 730 sites of “outstanding universal value” in 125 States Parties, including 563 cultural and 144 natural sites, and 23 mixed sites. This unique Convention encourages international cooperation to preserve shared cultural and natural heritage. Its 176 States Parties make it one of the world’s most ratified international agreements. Nations that join it promise to protect sites on the World Heritage List, especially by providing a legal and regulatory framework for them.
The World Heritage Committee comprises representatives of 21 counties and is elected every six years by the general assembly of the Convention’s signatories. Each year, the Committee adds new sites to the List. Sites are nominated by States Parties and assessed by two advisory organizations – the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) for cultural sites, and the World Conservation Union (IUCN) in the case of natural sites. The International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) also gives its opinion and helps to train experts.
The World Heritage Committee is in charge of applying the 1972 Convention. It considers reports on the state of preservation of listed sites and asked signatory countries to take action when they are not being properly managed. It also hands out some US$4 million a year from the World Heritage Fund to pay for urgent operations, training of experts and to encourage technical cooperation. UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre serves as the administrator.
Accreditation from UNESCO Press Service
Isabelle Le Fournis, Tel: 33 (0)1 45 68 17 48