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Author Solivagant
#1 | Posted: 3 Jul 2011 05:43 
It is interesting to read how the WHC decisions are received in the countries involved! I have just been reviewing Bridgetown and feel a "bit of heel" for my less than enthusiastic comments when I read of the unalloyed joy among Barbadians at the honour! Perhaps it is reasonable to allow each country 1 site to concentrate their national pride and act as a focus for conservation generally - even if the inscribed site is less than "World Class".

Herewith the "Barbadian joy"
http://www.barbadoscropoverfestival.com/festival-news/431-historic-bridgetown-and-its -garrison-a-world-heritage-site.html

I also rather liked this comment (admittedly from Costa Rica) about important events in Nicaragua. The inscription of Leon Cathedral was said to have been "one of the major developments in Nicaragua this week". It even pushed into second place news of the arrival of 10 new buses from Mexico to improve Managua's transport system!

In Jamaica however they are licking their wounds after the failure of the Blue Mountains nomination and talking darkly of the amount of lobbying which Barbados had been able to carry out by sending a team of 5 to Paris rather than Jamaica's 2!!

Author Solivagant
#2 | Posted: 6 Jul 2011 05:26 | Edited by: Solivagant 
This self-congratulatory note from a French source about the inscription of Causses and Cevennes is quite interesting.
It states
"The natural beauty of the Causses and the Cevennes have been recognised by UNESCO as areas of natural importance and were listed as world heritage sites in June 2011."
The site of Causses and Cevennes was NOT of course inscribed for its "natural beauty" but for 2 cultural criteria but that doesn't stop tourist related businesses from telling a slightly different story! I am not sure how many tourists would be attracted if told that an area was an inscribed "Cultural Landscape".
There is also a subtle move (which tendency i have noticed elsewhere) to regard the Buffer zone as part of the site
"Thirty five separate communities of the Aveyron are encompassed by the listing, twenty two within the park and thirteen in the so called buffer zone."
Perhaps I should start counting a site as having been "seen" if I visit the buffer zone!
http://www.guide2midipyrenees.com/news/620/The-Causses-and-the-Cevennes-listed-as-UNE SCO-world-heritage-site

Author Solivagant
#3 | Posted: 7 Jul 2011 12:12 | Edited by: Solivagant 
We understood and generally applauded the WHC decision not to inscribe all 19 of the buildings nominated under the "Le Corbusier" umbrella.
We also noted the suggestion that just 3 buildings be nominated next time (Villa Savoye in Paris, the Unite d'Habitation housing development in Marseille, France, and the Notre Dame du Haut chapel in Ronchamp). We agreed that many of the other buildings were pretty un-noteworthy other than having been designed by Le Corbusier in person or by him and his "practice". We also know that, for various reasons India has never been able to get its act together re Chandigarh and was not part of the 19 - so that, even though that site could well justify nomination, ICOMOS couldn't really mention it .

BUT - do we understand however why the National Museum of Western Art was not one of the suggested ones? It generally is regarded as being of "significance"? Perhaps it was, indeed, of more merit than the other 15 but, once the list was extended beyond the 3 French locations, it would become difficult to stop!!

However, here is an article ( http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-mallory/of-universal-value-modern_1_b_879284.html#s 293324&title=Le_Corbusier_Unite ) suggesting that the decision owes something to a reluctance by ICOMOS to accept that the Eurocentric nature of modern architecture will inevitably result in the inscription of "Western" models in non western countries. This issue also relates to another recent forum subject, namely that of "colonialisation" of the List. ( http://www.worldheritagesite.org/forums/index.php?action=vthread&forum=8&topic=1558 )

I hadn't perhaps appreciated that inscription of the Museum of Western Art could be regarded as "praising a building which was created through Europe-based manipulation (the building was commissioned post WW2 and the architect forced to be from the allied nations)." Presumably this view couldn't be held by Japan which must have rather wanted the inscription of this building since it supported the efforts to get it inscribed? And is it likely that ICOMOS is indeed in thrall to an "anti-colonial" agenda?

Certainly this issue didn't emerge in the WHC discussions, although ICOMOS was under some pressure to justify its stance! The inconsistency for instance was pointed out regarding why Vauban should have 12 examples of his oeuvre inscribed whilst Le Corbusier can only have 3 because to have more was not adding anything!! Were all those extra Vauban inscriptions any different?

Author winterkjm
#4 | Posted: 8 Jul 2011 10:54 
All documents from the 35th WHC session are now online at the Unesco website.

Author elsslots
#5 | Posted: 9 Jul 2011 00:56 | Edited by: elsslots 
There have been some name changes too, the most remarkable is Gambia's James Island that will now be known as Kunta Kinteh Island (its official name was changed in Feb). And Chitwan finally has lost its "Royal" prefix.

Author Solivagant
#6 | Posted: 9 Jul 2011 05:18 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Observations concerning Items from WHC-11/35.COM/20 (Decisions)

I see that this year the minutes of the WHC do actually state that the problem with The Triple Arch Gate of Dan relates to the boundary issues
"Decision: 35 COM 8B.41
The World Heritage Committee,
1. Having examined documents WHC-11/35.COM/8B.Add and WHC- 11/35.COM/INF.8B1.Add, recognizes that the nomination entitled "Triple Arch Gate at Dan" (Israel) has Outstanding Universal Value;
2. Takes note of information provided concerning legal and technical data;
3. Postpones consideration of this nomination until the question of boundaries is settled

This is after the site was first proposed in 2009!!!! Minutes of subsequent WHC have just pussy-footed around the issue. But even here the issue is not exactly very clear - namely that the question of the boundaries is NEVER going to be solved without a full Israeli/Syrian peace settlement!

Also - it is worth looking through some of the more "boring" procedural items at the end. I note particularly
a. Although ThinkHeritage! was stopped from live blogging the WHC this year, this was agreed for next year :-
"Decides that World Heritage Committee meetings should be live-streamed over the web
and requests the World Heritage Centre to strengthen relations with media, including
through media briefings prior to the opening of Committee sessions, capacity building for
journalists on World Heritage matters, regular interface between the media and the
Chairperson during Committee sessions and media training for the Chairperson and
representatives of the Advisory Bodies and decides to open the meetings to accredited
This should be interesting!!

b. There was a debate on whether Committee members should nominate properties at all -remember Netherlands adopted a self-denying ordinance on this. Those memebers with few sites were against so this was the compromise decision
"Recommends Committee members consider refraining from bringing forward new
nominations that might be discussed during their term serving on the Committee, without
prejudice to nomination files already submitted, deferred or referred during previous
Committee sessions, or nominations from least represented States Parties and that this
provision be implemented on an experimental basis and be reviewed at its 38th session
in 2014;

c. There was a lot of concern that the AB's/The states Parties and the WHC were operating on different wave-lengths (hence all the "Deferrral recommendations" which were overturned!!). Among decisions about what to do were these
"Following the examination of nominations of properties for inscription on the World
Heritage List (WHC.11/35.COM/8B and WHC.11/35.COM/8B.Add);
3. Requests the World Heritage Centre to formally notify States Parties, as soon as
possible, of the evaluations and recommendations from the Advisory Bodies with
respect to their nominations; Decisions report WHC-11/35.COM/20, p. 277
4. Strongly encourages the Advisory Bodies to give consideration to identifying means of
strengthening the dialogue with States Parties, under their mandates and within
available resources and timelines; "

d. The problems of the WHC running out of time were considered -there is to be an additional meeting of the WHC every "odd year" (" UNESCO Headquarters immediately after the General Assembly, (which should be held within the period of UNESCO's General Conference ); agenda: strategic and policy issues and as necessary, reports on the state of
conservation needing urgent examination;"
The ordinary meetings will concentrate on "reports, budget, nomination and state of conservation reports".
Attempts have also been made to speed up discussions at the WHC!! -
e.g "[22.5 The Chairperson shall put Committee members' questions to a State Party once at the end of the Committee's debate on the property]
[22.6 Committee members shall not speak to World Heritage properties in their own
territories, except at the explicit invitation of the Chairperson and in response to specific
questions posed. Advocacy in favour of a particular proposal will not be entertained.]
22.7 Representatives of a State Party, whether or not a member of the Committee, shall
not speak to advocate the inclusion in the World Heritage List of a property nominated,
[the state of conservation of a property on their territory] or the approval of an assistance
request submitted by that State Party, but only to deal with a point of information in
answer to a question"

Author meltwaterfalls
#7 | Posted: 9 Jul 2011 05:25 
the most remarkable is Gambia's James Island

hmm... that seems to be an odd decision. From the Gambian point of view, it looks like a way of branding one of the countries main tourist attractions with something recognisable outside the country (Roots). In fact most of the trips that go out there are already called 'Roots tours'

From UNESCO's point of view it seems really odd, it has basically just allowed a piece of branding to be put on a WHS. The link between the probably fictional character of Kunta Kinteh was not that strong.

Odd decision

Author Solivagant
#8 | Posted: 9 Jul 2011 13:40 
I know we have both been there meltwaterfalls but the main surprise to me is that Gambia should have maintained a colonial name for so long!!

Already "Bathurst" has become "Banjul" and "Georgetown" has become "Janjanbureh"

If Gambia officially changes the name of the island can UNESCO really do anything but accept it.
Herewith the details of the change made last February
http://www.africandiasporatourism.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=52 3:kunta-kinteh-forever-historic-gambian-island-where-slaves-were-captured-gets-new-na me-&catid=112:featur

As for the dubious reality of the link - well every nation has its myths!!

Author meltwaterfalls
#9 | Posted: 9 Jul 2011 18:02 
the main surprise to me is that Gambia should have maintained a colonial name for so long

Fair point actually, I hadn't thought of it from that point of view.
I didn't realise the whole name had changed though.
I suppose there are plenty of places relating to King Arthur in the UK so shouldn't complain too much.

Author winterkjm
#10 | Posted: 17 Aug 2011 16:33 
Possible resolution concerning Thailand and Cambodia's conflict on Preah Vihear Temple.


Author meltwaterfalls
#11 | Posted: 18 Aug 2011 05:37 
Possible resolution concerning Thailand and Cambodia's

Well lets keep our fingers crossed that things calm down a little now that the Thai elections are out of the way. The tone from both sides seems a little more restrained, though it seems Cambodia's government has a different take on the need for peace keeping troops

Author Khuft
#12 | Posted: 18 Aug 2011 07:45 
Supposedly, Thaksin Shinawatra (the former prime minister and brother of the new prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra) has a good relationship with Cambodia's prime minister Hun Sen - maybe that will help...


Author Solivagant
#13 | Posted: 26 Oct 2011 04:38 
Concern that the WHC is ignoring the expert and considered comments of Advisory Bodies!!

As we have been privy to the discussions which led to so many sites being inscribed against the AB recommendation such a reaction is perhaps not surprising!


It will be interesting to see if anything changes - or perhaps the WHC has some "right" on its side and is correct in taking "wider" matters into account when making decisions than just the rather pedantic assessments of "experts" who themselves are not always as "objective" as they might think themselves to be!!

Author winterkjm
#14 | Posted: 26 Oct 2011 05:46 | Edited by: winterkjm 
One thing I have a growing dislike for is when a country hosts a WHC session it is "granted" a near free pass on inscribing any of their nominations? Who wants to bet against Russia getting the Russian Kremlins and Lena Pillars Nature Park insribed next year in St. Petersburg?

On another point, while I think all of us support Unesco expanding to include sites from small or under-represented countries, as of late many countries attempting to have their first WHS have succeeded despite strong reservations by the Advisory Bodies. It seems the WHC is more focused on having weak sites withdrawn by the state party, and the other candidates inscribed, with few sites receiving deferrals or refferals to strengthen or clarify a nomination. For some countries their first-time nominations could benifit strongly from a refferal in its first attempt at inscription, no? Why the rush?

Like others on this forum have stated, developed and/or powerful nations are in a position of advantage in nominating and inscribing their sites, both politically and concerning heritage protection. So G20 countries have a better success record at the WHC then most nations in Southeast Asia (Vietnam being the recent exception), Africa, Latin America, and in the Arab world.

Author Euloroo
#15 | Posted: 26 Oct 2011 06:00 | Edited by: Euloroo 
developed and/or powerful nations are in a position of advantage

Of course, a key "advantage" is the resources to manage sites to the required standard. We need to see a lot more developed countries stepping forward and providing assistance in the development and implementation of management plans for sites in less developed countries.

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