New Sights Added to World Heritage List

The World Heritage Committee on Friday added natural and historical sites from several countries, including China, Italy and Mexico, to the prestigious World Heritage list, though there was disappointment for sites whose listing was deferred.

“We are very moved and touched and want to say thank you for the decision to inscribe Mount Etna National Park on the World Heritage List,” said Italy’s ambassador to Unesco, Maurizio Serra, before going on to remind other countries about the work behind such inscriptions.

“This nomination is the result of many years of work,” and numerous meetings between park officials, authorities and environmental experts, Mr. Serra said.

Governments have to submit extensive plans including assessments of the current status of a site, its history, and future management planning to be considered by the Unesco committee. They also have to prove that the site, whether of natural or historical heritage, is of “outstanding universal value” and meets all the selection criteria, such as representing “a masterpiece of human creative genius,” or contain the most significant natural habitats for biological diversity.

Over the 11 days of meetings, which started on Monday, many sites will be discussed, but not all will be listed, such as India’s Great Himalaya National Park. Along with boundary disputes with neighboring countries, committee members noted that the park’s submission was insufficient.

The Great Himalaya National Park will be discussed again next year, along with Sambor Prei Kuk in Kompong Thom province, the 7th century capital of the Chenla kingdom, which Cambodia hopes to list.

If the submission is successful, Sambor Prei Kuk will be the third Cambodian site on the list after the Angkor Archaeological Park and Preah Vihear temple, said the Ministry of Culture’s director of cultural heritage, Hab Touch.

“It’s difficult, and it’s a lot of work. We have to be sure about authenticity, the management of the site in the future, everything has to be worked out and there are many different requirements,” he added.

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