Go for the Experience
Early Morning at Angkor Wat
Thank You UNESCO
As some of you may have already realized, I took a tangent from my UNESCO postcard a month or so ago to talk about the Ancient and New Wonders of the World. I now want to go back to the topic of UNESCO and, in particular, The World Heritage Centre. I could spend the next 5 newsletters giving you information. Instead I suggest that you visit whc.unesco.org. if you are as curious as I am. Just a quick visit will give you a glimpse into how important this organization is in preserving our cultural and natural heritage.
Let me give some interesting statistics: As of today, there are
832 listed Cultural Sites; 206 listed Natural Sites and 54 in Danger.
How do you get listed? There is quite a process with lots of forms and red tape, of course. This year’s World Heritage Committee meeting was held in Krakow, Poland in July. 21 new sites were added to the list including the English Lake District.
Now I want to talk about success for previously listed in danger sites. This designation does get action. See the list below for successful restorations taken from the whc.unesco.org website that I am grateful to have visited thanks to their efforts in preserving these sites.
Angkor, Cambodia One of the most important archaeological sites in South-East Asia, Angkor Archaeological Park contains the magnificent remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century. In 1993, UNESCO embarked upon an ambitious plan to safeguard and develop the historical site carried out by the Division of Cultural Heritage in close cooperation with the World Heritage Centre. Illicit excavation, pillaging of archaeological sites and landmines were the main problems. The World Heritage Committee, having noted that these threats to the site no longer existed and that the numerous conservation and restoration activities coordinated by UNESCO were successful, removed the site from the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2004.
The Old City of Dubrovnik in Croatia The ‘pearl of the Adriatic’, dotted with beautiful Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque buildings had withstood the passage of centuries and survived several earthquakes. In November and December 1991, when seriously damaged by artillery fire, the city was immediately included on the List of World Heritage in Danger. With UNESCO providing technical advice and financial assistance, the Croatian Government restored the facades of the Franciscan and Dominican cloisters, repaired roofs and rebuilt palaces. As a result, in December 1998, it became possible to remove the city from the List of World Heritage in Danger.
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area in the United Republic of Tanzania This huge crater with the largest concentration of wild animals in the world was listed as an endangered site in 1984 because of the overall deterioration of the site due to the lack of management. By 1989, thanks to continuous monitoring and technical cooperation projects, the situation had improved and the site was removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger.
I can’t end without a mention of how my heart is aching for the residents of Houston and the surrounding areas. I struggled with who to donate to, but finally found an organization that gives 100%. While this was not who I donated to, kudos to JJ Watt.
Here is a personal opinion… wish we could be together as a nation in times of non-national catastrophic events!