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UNESCO world heritage list grows along with cultural sites on ‘danger list’

UNESCO world heritage list grows along with cultural sites on ‘danger list’
July 20, 2015

While considering the status of the Great Barrier Reef and Tasmania’s World Heritage area, attacks on cultural heritage in Iraq, Syria and Yemen set the tone for the recent 39th session of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee.

Staged in Bonn, Germany earlier this month, the meeting opened with the launch of the Unite for Heritage Coalition, an international initiative calling for greater co-operation between governments to counter the deliberate destruction of heritage that has become an all too familiar sight in recent months.

News emerged during the 10-day meeting that richly carved funerary busts and a three-metre high statue of a lion were destroyed in Palmyra, Syria, following Islamic State militants having gained control of the ancient city in May.

Commenting on this ongoing threat to World Heritage sites, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bova stated “the threat is global and our response must be global.

“It requires better co-ordination among national services, the exchange of information among states. Nothing can replace, in this area, the action of governments.”

Bova also called on “police, customs officials, museums, governments, actors from the cultural, humanitarian and security sectors, civil society and the media” to work together “to create new alliances to meet the challenges of violent extremism”.

The committee also adopted the Bonn Declaration, which, among other things, “condemns the barbaric assaults, violence and crimes committed in recent times by (Islamic State), against the cultural heritage of Iraq, including the World Heritage Site at Hatra, which recalls mindless destructions in Bamiyan, Timbuktu and elsewhere” and denounces “the destruction and looting of cultural objects used as a tactic of war and as a source to fund terrorism”.

The ancient city of Hatra in Iraq is one of three sites recently added to UNESCO’s growing ‘Danger List’. Its inscription comes three months after videos of Islamic State (Isil) militants attacking the 2,000-year-old World Heritage Site with rifles and sledgehammers emerged on the internet.

Two sites in Yemen, the Old City of Sana’a and the Old Walled City of Shibam, were also added to the ‘Danger List’, which now includes 48 properties from the Bamiyan Valley in Afghanistan to the earthen architecture of the port city of Coro in Venezuela.

UNESCO also announced it has joined forces with its sister agency the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) to use satellite imagery and other geo-spatial technologies to monitor heritage sites in conflict zones and after natural disasters.

The ancient Roman port city of Ephesus in Turkey, 10,000-year-old rock art from Saudi Arabia and five 18th-century Franciscan missions in San Antonio, Texas (the most famous being The Alamo where the US frontiersman Davy Crockett died during the Texas Revolution of 1836) are among the 24 sites added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List, which now boasts 1,031 properties from 163 countries.

Of the 24 latest additions, 11 sites are in Europe and North America, eight are in Asia and the Pacific, three are in Latin America and the Caribbean and two are in the Arab States. Around 48% of the entire World heritage List is made up of sites from Europe and North America.

Arab States have the fewest, with around 8%.

The next session of the World Heritage Committee is due to be held in Istanbul in July 2016.

Images shows Palmyra, Syria.

5th July 2015 - MINISTER CLAIMS UNESCO GREAT BARRIER REEF DECISION SHOWS AUSTRALIA WORLD LEADERSHIP

2nd July 2015 - UNITED NATIONS CALLS FOR BAN ON LOGGING AND MINING IN TASMANIA’S WORLD HERITAGE AREA

22nd April 2015 - WORLD’S PROTECTED NATURAL AREAS RECEIVE EIGHT BILLION VISITS A YEAR

9th March 2015 - ISLAMIC STATE MILITANTS BULLDOZE ANCIENT ASSYRIAN CITY NIMRUD

20th November 2014  - IUCN SUMMIT DELIVERS MAJOR COMMITMENTS TO SAVE EARTH’S MOST PRECIOUS NATURAL AREAS

19th November 2014  - CRIMINAL WILDLIFE POACHING DRIVING ENDANGERED SPECIES TO BRINK OF EXTINCTION 

12th November 2014 - ONLY ONE IN FOUR PROTECTED AREAS IS WELL MANAGED

6th May 2014 - ASIAN LEADERS AND IUCN ESTABLISH NEW PARTNERSHIP FOR PROTECTED AREAS


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However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

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