Unesco has registered as a World Heritage 29 new sites during the fortieth meeting of its committee, including one Spanish, with which this prestigious index now has 1121 places that stand out for their natural, cultural and mixed nature spread over 167 countries.
The director of the Unesco World Heritage Center, Mechtild Rössler, described as "important" the result of the meeting, which will close on Wednesday but has already finished its analysis on the inclusion of new sites in the list, which this year are ten more than those adopted in the previous meeting. Of the 29 new sites registered four are natural and 24 cultural, not counting the extension of the mixed -natural and cultural site- of the Ohrid region (Albania and Northern Macedonia).
Among the sites registered this year was the Spanish proposal of Risco Caído and the Sacred Mountains of Gran Canaria, a prehispanic archaeological site of troglodyte settlements with temples and markers of clear astronomical connotations, candidacy approved unanimously and great recognition.
The growing importance of conservation
Rössler considered that the other significant achievement in Baku was a review of the conservation status of 166 threatened sitesAmong those who cited Venice (Italy), the Basilica of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route in Bethlehem, which came this year from the List of World Heritage in Danger. Unesco also removed the saltpeter Humberstone and Santa Laura (Chile ) of the List of World Heritage in Danger, a success for the nation of the Southern Cone.
In contrast, the islands and protected areas of the Gulf of California (Mexico), The only place in the world where the vaquita, a critically endangered species, lives, was declared a World Heritage in Danger.
The director of the World Heritage Center pointed out that the organization devotes more and more attention to state of conservation of the sites, since many of them face threats.In the case of Nepal, the Committee decided to give it a year's margin to undertake the necessary measures to prevent the Kathmandu Valley from being included in this list, after a long debate among the delegations and the wish expressed by the State that the site was not was inscribed.
Controversy in evaluations
Unesco also failed to include the archaeological site of Babylon, 85 kilometers south of Baghdad, after intense controversy over the proposal of the International Council of Monuments and Sites (Icomos) that recommended declaring it a World Heritage in Danger immediately after granting it the status of World Heritage.
The discussions of the World Heritage Committee were based on the reports of the advisory bodies of Unesco, Icomos and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), as the case may be, but the evaluations were not without controversy. And it is that the countries ignored in several occasions the recommendations of Icomos during the meeting. However, they were finally accepted.
In addition, the World Heritage Committee recommended deferring the inclusion of Jaipur (India), and the sanctuary of migratory birds on the Yellow Sea and the Bohai Gulf of China, although they were eventually registered.
The opposite was also true, when the application "Borders of the Roman Empire, Limes of the Danube", submitted by Germany, Austria, Hungary and Slovakia, which was recommended for registration, was not registered after the Hungarian delegation announced its withdrawal from the draft.
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