UNESCO World Heritage Committee Meets in Quebec

It’s that time again boys and girls and UNESCO is convening in the historic French-Canadian capital of Quebec City for this year’s UNESCO World Heritage meeting (July 2 -10).

Quebec City is a perfect locale considering it is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of French settlers and it is already on UNESCO’s list of historic places.

According to this year’s UNESCO press release:

…committee will also review the state of conservation of the 30 World Heritage sites…which are threatened by a variety of problems such as natural disasters, pillaging, pollution, and poorly managed mass tourism…

To date, UNESCO’s 1972 Convention on the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage protects:

  • 851 properties of “outstanding universal value,”
    • including 660 cultural,
    • 166 natural and
    • 25 mixed properties in 141 States Parties.

Now for the unbelievable and pathetic part:

The Committee supervises the disbursement of over $4 million per annum from the World Heritage Fund, aimed at emergency action, training of experts and encouraging technical cooperation. UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre is the Secretariat of the World Heritage Committee.

Here are the natural properties submitted for inscription to the World Heritage List this year:

  • Quarry of the Fabrica Nacional de Cementos S.A. (FANCESA),
  • Cal Orck’O, Sucre, Departamento Chuquisaca (Bolivia),
  • an extension to the Pirin National Park (Bulgaria),
  • The Joggins Fossil Cliffs (Canada),
  • Mount Sanqingshan National Park (China),
  • Lagoons of New Caledonia: Reef Diversity and Associated Ecosystems (France),
  • Surtsey (Iceland),
  • Bradyseism in Phlegraean Area (Italy),
  • Saryarka – Steppe and Lakes of Northern Kazakhstan (Kazakhstan),
  • Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve (Mexico),
  • Hovsgol Lake and its Watershed (Mongolia),
  • “The Putorana Plateau” Nature Complex (Russian Federation),
  • Swiss Tectonic Arena Sardona (Switzerland),
  • Socotra Archipelago (Yemen).

And here are the cultural properties submitted for inscription to the World Heritage List:

  • Historic Centres of Berat and Gjirokastra – Towns of southern Albania, exceptional testimonies of well-preserved Ottoman settlements in the Balkan region, an extension (Albania),
  • Cultural Landscape of Buenos Aires (Argentina),
  • São Francisco Square in the city of São Cristóvão (Brazil),
  • The Sacred Site of the Temple of Preah Vihear (Cambodia),
  • Fujian Tulou (China),
  • The Stari Grad Plain (Croatia),
  • Urban Historic Scenary Camagüey (Cuba),
  • Spa of Luha?ovice – area with a collection of historic spa buildings and spa-related facilities (Czech Republic),
  • Historic Monuments and Sites in Kaesong (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea),
  • The work of Vauban (France),
  • Housing Estates in the Berlin Modern Style (Germany),
  • System of Fortification at the Confluence of the Rivers Danube and Váh in Komárno – Komárom (Hungary / Slovakia),
  • Mountain Railways of India (serial extension to include Kalka Shimla Railway (KSR) (India),
  • River Island of Majuli in midstream of Brahmaputra River in Assam (India),
  • Cultural Landscape of Bali Province (Indonesia),
  • The Armenian Monastic Ensembles in Iranian Azarbayjan (Islamic Republic of Iran),
  • The Triple-arch Gate at Dan (Israel),
  • Bahá’i Holy Places in Haifa and Western Galilee (Israel),
  • Mantua and Sabbioneta (Italy),
  • Hiraizumi – Cultural Landscape Associated with Pure Land Buddhist Cosmology (Japan),
  • Sacred Mijikenda Kaya Forests (Kenya),
  • Sulamain-Too Sacred Mountain (Kyrgyzstan),
  • Historic Cities of the Straits of Malacca: Melaka and George Town (Malaysia),
  • Le Morne Cultural Landscape (Mauritius),
  • Protective town of San Miguel and the Sanctuary of Jesús de Nazareno de Atotonilco (Mexico),
  • León Cathedral (Nicaragua),
  • The Kuk Early Agricultural Site (Papua New Guinea),
  • San Marino Historic Centre and Mount Titano (San Marino),
  • Al-Hijr Archaeological Site (Madâin Sâlih) (Saudi Arabia),
  • Wooden Churches of the Slovak part of Carpathian Mountain Area (Slovakia),
  • Palaeolithic Cave Art of Northern Spain (extension to Altamira Cave) (Spain),
  • Rhaetian Railway in the Albula / Bernina Cultural Landscape (Switzerland / Italy),
  • The Antonine Wall (extension to the Frontiers of the Roman Empire) (United Kingdom),
  • Chief Roi Mata’s Domain (Vanuatu).

I did some wiki-ing and discovered that the distribution of World Heritage Sites is a little lopsided:

  • 49% are in Europe & North America
  • 21% are in Asia & the Pacific
  • 14% are in Latin America and the Caribbean
  • 9% are in Africa
  • 7% are in Arab States (why these are even separated out is beyond me since there is no such thing as an “Arab” state but a state with a majority Arab population).

Another surprising fact was that I couldn’t find any real information anywhere on the web about some of the heritage sites up for consideration this year in Quebec.

2 responses to “UNESCO World Heritage Committee Meets in Quebec”

  1. […] for the World Heritage List, blogger Hrag Vartanian has made an interesting observation: I did some wiki-ing and discovered that the distribution of World Heritage Sites is a little […]

  2. Kristin Avatar

    Could you please make mention specific about the photo of the amazing trees? Where was it taken and what kinds of trees they are. It’s sad so little is allocated for the true wealth of the world. It would be nice to see of the natural wealth as the lowest percentage of sites is of the natural world. Thanks for pointing this out! You Rock!!

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