NEW SITES PROPOSED FOR WORLD HERITAGE LIST Paris - Eleven new sites, including one in Afghanistan, are likely to be added to UNESCO's World Heritage List on June 27. These sites of exceptional cultural and natural value for humanity will be included on the List during the World Heritage Committee's 26th annual meeting in Budapest (Hungary) from June 24-29.
Nine countries have proposed sites: Afghanistan, Germany, Egypt, Hungary, India, Italy, Mexico, Poland and Suriname. The committee will also consider extending two sites already on the List, in Hungary and Costa Rica.
The Committee will also reviewthe List of World Heritage in Danger. There are 31 sites on this List, most of them under serious threat from such things as mining or industrial pollution, looting, war, badly organised tourism, and poaching. The Committee may alter this list, which includes such sites as Angkor Wat, Jerusalem and Timbuktu.
On June 28, the Committee will adopt the Budapest Declaration on World Heritage, thus marking the 30th anniversary of the 1972 Convention on World Cultural and Natural Heritage. This Convention currently protects 721 sites of "outstanding universal value" in 124 States Parties, including 554 cultural sites, 144 natural ones and 23 mixed ones. This unique agreement encourages international cooperation to preserve shared cultural and natural heritage. Its 172 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 which have been nominated by States Parties and then assessedby two advisory bodies - the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) for cultural sites and by 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 asthe administrator.
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