UNESCO Names 24 New World Heritage Sites

UNESCO SITE

One of the newly approved heritage sites

The United Nation Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Committee on Thursday, at the conclusion of its annual meeting in Bonn, Germany, added 24 new spots to its list of the World Heritage Sites.

For 10 days, over 2,000 delegates from around 160 countries gathered at the western German city of Bonn, examined nominations of new heritage sites and reviewed the state of conservation of sites already in the heritage list.

Out of the 36 sites that were examined this year, 24 were granted world heritage status for their ‘outstanding universal value’, increasing the total number of world heritage sites to 1,031.

According to the committee, the inscribed sites of ‘outstanding universal value’ must also meet one or more of 10 criteria such as representing a masterpiece of human creative genius, containing exceptional natural beauty or being an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement.

Among the newly inscribed sites is China’s Tusi Sites, which has remained of tribal domains in southwest China, whose hereditary rulers were appointed by ancient China’s central government as ‘Tusi’. The meeting said that the sites became the country’s 48th world heritage, keeping China as the second biggest country of world heritage after Italy.

It named other new sites to include, the Champagne Hillsides, houses and cellars in France, the Forth Bridge in Scotland, San Antonio Missions in the U.S., and Blue and John Crow Mountains in Jamaica, the country’s first world heritage.

Jing Feng, Chief, World Heritage Center’s Asia and Pacific unit, said that as the number of world heritage sites increased, the UN was under pressure to oversee and support the conservation of heritage sites with its limited resources. “The World Heritage Committee was considering tightening the quota of new heritage sites.

The maximum number of nominations to be examined each year would be reduced to 25 from the current level of 45. Countries should make sufficient comparative studies, and nominate best of the best,” he said.

Feng said that during the meeting that opened on June 28, the UNESCO also urged protection of world heritage sites from threat of intentional destruction, especially in the Middle East, and natural disasters, calling intentional attacks against world heritage ‘war crimes’.

He said that three sites in Yemen and Iraq were listed as endangered world heritage due to damages or threat from the ongoing armed conflicts in the two countries. The Committee also announced that its next annual meeting will be held in Istanbul, Turkey, from July 10 to July 20, 2016.

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