Yesterday, the World Heritage Committee began its annual meeting to consider requests for the inscription of new sites on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The session is being held at Brasilia, Brazil, and runs until August 3rd.
During this year’s session,35 States party to the World Heritage Convention will present properties for inscription on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Three of those countries – Marshall Islands, Kiribati and Tajikistan – have no properties inscribed on the World Heritage List to date.
Thirty two new properties in total were submitted for inscription on the World Heritage List this year: 6 natural, 24 cultural and 2 mixed (i.e. both natural and cultural) properties, including four transnational nominations. In addition, 9 extensions to properties already listed have been proposed (see list below).
The Committee will also review the state of conservation of the 31 World Heritage properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger and may decide to add to that list new properties whose preservation requires special attention. The In Danger List features sites which are threatened by a variety of problems such as pollution, urban development, poorly managed mass tourism, wars, and natural disasters, which have a negative impact on the outstanding values for which the sites were inscribed on the World Heritage List.
To date, the World Heritage List recognizes 890 properties of “outstanding universal value,” including 689 cultural, 176 natural and 25 mixed properties in 148 States Parties.
The Convention encourages international cooperation to safeguard the common heritage of humanity. With 187 States Parties, it is one of the most widely ratified international legal instruments. When signing the Convention, States Parties commit to identifying sites for potential inscription and to preserving sites on the World Heritage List, as well as sites of national and regional importance, notably by providing an appropriate legal and regulatory framework.
The World Heritage Committee, responsible for the implementation of the 1972 Convention, comprises representatives of 21 countries, elected by the States Parties for up to six years. Each year, the Committee adds new sites to the List. The sites are proposed by the States Parties. Applications are then reviewed by two advisory bodies: cultural sites by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), and natural sites by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which inform the Committee of their recommendations. The International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Conservation of Cultural Heritage (ICCROM) provides expert advice on conservation and training in restoration techniques.
Natural properties submitted for inscription to the World Heritage List:
Pirin National Park (extension, Bulgaria)
Pitons, cirques and ramparts of Reunion Island (France)
Phoenix Islands Protected Area (Kiribati)
Dinosaur Ichnites of the Iberian Peninsula (Portugal / Spain)
Putorana Plateau (Russian Federation)
Monte San Giorgio (extension of “Monte San Giorgio”, Switzerland, Italy)
Tajik National Park, Mountains of the Pamirs (Tajikistan)
Cultural properties submitted for inscription to the World Heritage List:
Australian Convict Sites (Australia)
City of Graz – Historic Centre and Schloss Eggenberg (extension of “City of Graz – Historic Centre”) (Austria)
Augustowski Canal – a work of man and nature (Belarus / Poland)
Major Mining Sites of Wallonia (Belgium)
São Francisco Square in the Town of São Cristóvão (Brazil)
Historic Monuments of Dengfeng in “The Centre of Heaven and Earth” (Originally “Historic monuments of Mount Songshan”) (China)
Konso Cultural Landscape (Ethiopia)
Episcopal City of Albi (France)
Upper Harz Water Management System (extension of “Mines of Rammelsberg and Historic Town of Goslar”) (Germany)
The Jantar Mantar, Jaipur (India)
Matheran Light Railway (extension of the “Mountain Railways of India”) (India)
Sheikh Safi al-din Khānegāh and Shrine Ensemble in Ardabil (Islamic Republic of Iran)
Tabriz Historic Bazaar Complex (Islamic Republic of Iran)
The Triple-arch Gate at Dan (Israel)
Fort Jesus, Mombasa (Kenya)
Bikini Atoll, nuclear tests site (Marshall Islands)
Camino Real de Tierra Adentro (Mexico)
Prehistoric Caves of Yagul and Mitla in the Central Valley of Oaxaca (Mexico)
Seventeenth-century canal ring area of Amsterdam inside the Singelgracht (Netherlands)
Røros Mining Town and the Circumference (extension of “Røros Mining Town”) (Norway)
Historic Villages of Korea: Hahoe and Yangdong (Republic of Korea)
Church of the Resurrection of Suceviţa Monastery (extension of the “Churches of Moldavia”) (Romania)
At-Turaif District in ad-Dir’iyah (Saudi Arabia)
Palaeolithic Rock Art Ensemble in Siega Verde (extension of “Prehistoric Rock Art Sites in the Côa Valley”), (Portugal, Spain)
The Mercury and Silver Binomial. Almadén and Idrija with San Luis Potosí (Spain / Mexico /Slovenia)
Kiev: Saint-Sophia Cathedral with Related Monastic Buildings, St. Cyril’s and St. Andrew’s Churches, Kiev Pechersk Lavra (extension of “Kiev: Saint-Sophia Cathedral and Related Monastic Buildings, Kiev Pechersk Lavra”) (Ukraine)
Darwin’s Landscape Laboratory (United Kingdom)
Ngorongoro Conservation Area (re-nomination under additional criteria) (United Republic of Tanzania)
Mount Vernon (United States of America)
Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long – Hanoi (Viet Nam)
Mixed properties submitted for inscription to the World Heritage List:
Central Highlands of Sri Lanka: its Cultural and Natural Heritage ( Sri Lanka)
Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, Hawaii (United States of America)