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2009 WHC

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Author m_m
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#16 | Posted: 14 May 2009 22:16 
well, causses and cevennes has been deferred some years back. and maybe france decided to squeeze this nomination in, since the deferred/referred sites may not be on a particular year's list of nomination, but can still make it. note also that france's supposed new nomination is a natural site (reunion) and a transfrontier site (le corbusier works), which means that it can still nominate a cultural site since the maximum count for a transfrontier site is transferrable to another nation that shares the property.

Author Solivagant
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#17 | Posted: 15 May 2009 02:53 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Regarding the possible Dresden de-listing because of the Waldschlösschen Bridge.
I have done a trawl of German Web sites for recent comment/information and can find surprisingly little. It is almost as if everyone is watching an upcoming "crash" in slow motion knowing that whatever will happen will happen and that they can now do nothing about it! Certainly no hints that either party might back down.

This newspaper article of 22 April 2009 has been quite widely syndicated.
http://www.sz-online.de/special/wsb/artikel.asp?id=2135735
It describes construction well under way towards an opening in May/Jun 2011. As regards what UNESCO might do - „Der Ausgang ist aber völlig offen." ("The outcome is completely open"??)
This slightly earlier article (6 April 2009) also describes construction well under way and has a photo of the significant foundations and approach roads but doesn't refer to UNESCO at all
http://www.sz-online.de/nachrichten/artikel.asp?id=2121584

The Web site of the group pushing for a tunnel has written a rather opaque (to me at least) article (dated April 29 2009) which seems to have given up and to be looking at the next stage after Dresden has been delisted
http://www.elbtunnel-dresden.de/2009/04/20/no8do/
Over to Seville!!

Author Khuft
Registered
#18 | Posted: 15 May 2009 13:38 
According to this article, "the World Heritage Center in Paris" has recommended, that the Committee delete Dresdner Elbe Valley from the List. A letter with this recommendation will supposedly be sent to the Committee members.

http://www.welt.de/kultur/article3743668/Dresdens-Elbtal-soll-Welterbe-Titel-im-Juni- verlieren.html

Author elsslots
Admin
#19 | Posted: 15 May 2009 13:50 
Khuft:
that the Committee delete Dresdner Elbe Valley from the List

Oh no! Just when I'm finally going to visit it (next week), and despite all the positive reviews it has got on this website.

Author Solivagant
Registered
#20 | Posted: 15 May 2009 15:44 | Edited by: Solivagant 
So are this lot "poodles" or their own men (and women!) - will they meekly submit to the diktat from Paris or tell UNESCO that it has got things wrong and totally out of proportion?
Australia, Egypt, Nigeria, Bahrain, Israel, Peru, Barbados, Jordan, Republic of Korea, Brazil, Kenya, Spain, Canada, Madagascar, Sweden, China, Mauritius, Tunisia, Cuba, Morocco, United States of America.

No doubt someone will tell me that these WHC members are "straight as a die" wanting only what is best for the heritage of the World - why else would they get involved in an activity which forces them to have to travel around the world on expenses.
Perhaps I am just too old and cynical and I prefer to look for wants and paybacks, old scores, power blocks and alliances of interest!
To what extent do the WHC members vote as per their personal knowledge and beliefs and to what extent on the basis of being directed by their government? Does anyone have any knowledge/experience in these matters?

You can see a number of countries there which very much want things from UNESCO - Bahrain has been given quite a lot recently and hopes to become the cultural leader in the Gulf
Barbados is a newcomer but will be wanting its first site inscribed soon
Are the 7 African countries going stand up and be counted - many of their sites are pretty badly looked after but they can always look to UNESCO for money and a softly softly approach when it comes to such matters!
On the other hand Canada has a record of standing alone on some earlier debates - was it not against the removal of the Oryx sanctuary?
One would have hoped that USA would have taken a pragmatic approach to "development" - if only to mitigate the poor view of UNESCO among its population. Not a good piece of news for its people to hear that UNESCO will attack your sovereignty by telling you to stop building bridges etc - and just when USA was trying to re-engage on WHS matters. It abstained on Oman didn't it?
I see few obvious natural allies for Germany - just 3 European members and surely Spain as Chair MUST follow the UNESCO line?

Other countries which are having similar problems at the moment regarding planned developments are France, Russia, UK and Malaysia - not a single one on the committee!

I wonder if the details of voting will reach the outside world or will the WHC close ranks in a "Cabinet decision" - we did eventually find out the Oman vote. I presume a majority vote is enough and the chair has a casting vote -or is it some other level of majority?

Author elsslots
Admin
#21 | Posted: 17 May 2009 07:52 
Another negative: Schwetzingen

Author Khuft
Registered
#22 | Posted: 17 May 2009 08:12 
Do you think the likely de-listing of Dresden will have a lasting negative impact on nominations by Germany? After all, wouldn't the Committee members think: "why bother with nominations by Germany - they'll ignore our advice anyway...".
Same goes for Oman, of course.

Author elsslots
Admin
#23 | Posted: 17 May 2009 08:27 
This about sums up all German hopes, it even fears that the Upper Middle Rhine Valley will be placed In Danger (also because of a bridge). Only the Wadden Sea (joint nomination with the Netherlands) doesn't seem to have any troubles.

These actions of course will not make the World Heritage phenomenon more popular in Germany. Question is if they will keep on nominating new sites. I think its heritage is already well covered with 33 sites on the list anyway.

Author Solivagant
Registered
#24 | Posted: 17 May 2009 10:35 | Edited by: Solivagant 
I was having a look at the ICOMOS evaluation for Dresden dated March 2004 to see what was said about the OUV of the site and assess just how much that might be being compromised by the bridge. I came across this statement of which I had not previously been aware
"The Baroque Ensemble of Dresden, consisting of the ancient city centre, was proposed for inscription in 1989. ICOMOS recognised the great cultural value of Dresden. The doctrinal and technical importance of the reconstruction generated much reflection within the international community, and the ICOMOS Declaration of Dresden (1982) was taken as a guideline for restoration. Yet, the proposal to inscribe the ensemble was rejected (my emphasis) referring to the WH Committee decision re Warsaw".

A number of points arise
a. I can find absolutely NO reference in the official UNESCO documentation for 1989 (either the WHC or the Bureau – papers or minutes) to any nomination of Dresden for consideration in 1989 – let alone any "rejection". Can anyone else find such a reference?

b. The logic of the above paragraph doesn't really "add up". Certainly Warsaw was originally deferred in 1979. The minutes state "The inscription of this site on the List was supported by ICOMOS. The documentation is excellent and the centre of Warsaw is an exceptional example of reconstruction. Furthermore, it has been made into a symbol by the patriotic feeling of the Polish people. However, opinion was divided in the Bureau, since the site did not meet the criteria of authenticity, and the Bureau deferred its decision so that the questions raised in this respect could be thoroughly studied." But presumably all this was sorted out in time for Warsaw's inscription only 1 year later in 1980. The evaluation done then stated "Given these facts the criterion of Authenticity may not be applied in its strict sense. The historic center of Warsaw, tragically destroyed in 1944, is an exceptional example of the global reconstruction of a sequence of history running from the 13th to the 20th centuries. Its authenticity is associated with this unique realisation of the years 1945 to 1966". Given that it had been recognized as early as 1980 that some great cities destroyed in WWII were going to need what in many cases represented almost total reconstruction and that such reconstruction needn't be regarded as debarring them from being inscribed as WHS why was that matter still being referred to as late as 1989 as a reason to reject "The Baroque Ensemble of Dresden"?

Now, it might have been that the DDR (which would have been the "State Party" proposing Dresden back in 1989) actually "withdrew" Dresden in the face of the ICOMOS comments? But such late "Withdrawals" are usually minuted. Of course in 1989 the DDR had other matters to worry about (!!!). Between the Bureau being held in June and the WHC in December the regime had collapsed and the Berlin Wall had fallen – so that might explain how the "1989 Dresden rejection" has disappeared from WHC history!

Nevertheless it does appear to have happened and might go some way to explaining why it was that Dresden re-emerged in 2003, rather unwisely as it has turned out, NOT as the original "Baroque Ensemble of Dresden" but as the "Dresden Elbe Valley" Cultural Landscape encompassing rather more than the (potentially??) compromised authenticity of the city itself? The ICOMOS review certainly makes much of the river valley retaining its "characteristic low meadows" etc etc. It also attempts to minimse the importance of the city itself within the whole nomination "The process of restoration and reconstruction after the destruction of the Second World War continues, but in the current nomination this only concerns a small part of the site. It is noted that the policy applied in this process defers (sic :- I think they mean "differs"!) from that of Warsaw. In Dresden the work is based on a critical selection of the most significant and well documented buildings"

If the site had indeed been just the city itself would building of the Bridge have been so significant? Yet it is the spoiling of the historic view of the city by the bridge which has been used as the major point to justify any delisting. By extending the inscription to the Elbe valley Dresden/Germany certainly opened itself up to being a hostage to fortune across a far wider range of developments than would have been the case for the city alone.

If this bridge had been built by the DDR in 1960 say are UNESCO really saying that in 2004
a. The possibility of inscribing a Elbe cultural landscape would thereby have been precluded
and also that
b. Dresden as a historic city centre per se would not have had enough OUV to have been inscribed without the cultural landscape?
Possibly that is indeed the case given the above comments on the different approach to reconstruction in Dresden c.f Warsaw. I however remain firmly of the view that UNESCO has got matters out of all proportion and is bullying on a matter of no great principle whilst far more significant issues of preservation remain unattended to.

The members of the WHC should take the opportunity now to slap UNESCO back into place before they too get hit by this overweaning bureaucracy - but I fear they won't.

Author Durian
Registered
#25 | Posted: 17 May 2009 20:23 | Edited by: Durian 
Official Report on Dolomites by IUCN is released
http://www.ufficiostampa.provincia.tn.it/binary/pat_ufficio_stampa/notizie/dolomiti.1 242153447.pdf

Please read section 6 last paragraph on management plan time scale, quite interesting to note IUCN concern on WHC decision.

Author Solivagant
Registered
#26 | Posted: 18 May 2009 03:25 | Edited by: Solivagant 
There might indeed be a reason for the Chinese representative on the WHC to support Germany re keeping Dresden on the Inscribed List.

China is facing pressures from UNESCO regarding its stewardship of some of its sites and developments taking place there. I am sure that in some at least of the instances such pressures are totally justified. Indeed in the case of Lijiang it would seem to be a matter of closing the "stable door" and UNESCO's tardiness there contrasts with its over pedantry in the case of Dresden.

Here are 2 links regarding UNESCO criticism of China
http://gokunming.com/en/blog/item/317/unesco_warns_china_over_heritage_sites
http://gokunming.com/en/blog/item/65/unesco_to_delist_yunnan_heritage_site

Might this cause China to think twice about supporting the Dresden delisting? And will there be 10 other states among the 21 on the WHC prepared to do the same? Indeed a few less might be required - would Dresden be delisted on the basis of a vote as close, say, as 13 - 8? One would have thought that some sort of further "fudge" would emerge if there was not a very clear agreement in favour of delisting.

Author Khuft
Registered
#27 | Posted: 18 May 2009 15:19 
I'm also wondering about the US position - after all, the USA reviles any interference by supranational bodies into national matters...

In any case, the Dresden dispute seems even more ludicrous to me because the WHS contains not only the city of Dresden, but the adjoining Elbe valley as well. Will one bridge (in addition to the dozen that already exist anyway in the valley, some of which in the city itself) really destroy the universal value of the whole valley? Isn't a cultural landscape supposed to be living?

The potential similar dispute about the Middle Upper Rhine Valley is just as bizarre - the most annoying thing about the valley is exactly that there is no bridge between Koblenz and Bingen. For the residents of the valley, a bridge would be a blessing (I'm conjecturing that a tunnel would be very expensive as the Rhine is probably quite deep in the valley).

I really doubt that creating dead "museum landscapes" was the original intention of UNESCO. The WHC will not be doing itself any favours if it annoys the people in the sites it wants to preserve.

Author m_m
Registered
#28 | Posted: 26 May 2009 23:06 
check the latest list of nominations, including sites deferred and referred in previous sessions: http://portal.unesco.org/en/ev.php-URL_ID=45593&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html

Author Assif
Registered
#29 | Posted: 27 May 2009 07:47 
How come there are only about 28 new nominations to be considered? Doesn't the limit stand at 40 a year (without emergencies, referrals, deferrals and extensions)?

Author Xeres
Registered
#30 | Posted: 28 May 2009 17:54 
Last year, UNESCO came out with a 'pacific 2009' program, the point of which was the inscribe more sites from the Pacific states, and ensure fair representation. It hasn't seemed to have succeed as there are no sites from pacific countries on the nomination list this year. UNESCO has announced that their making progress, that most countries now have T-Lists and are moving towards nomination, but I think that, overall, the program is a failure
No sites nominated, and even the T-lists are severely lacking. Where is nan madol? Tana island? even Papau New guinea, which has sites on the T-list that should have been made WHS a long long time ago does not have a comprehensive T-list. UNESCO needs to get things moving
http://whc.unesco.org/en/pacific2009

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