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Taiwan WH Status?

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Author winterkjm
#1 | Posted: 27 Jul 2009 15:50 
I have read elswhere that Taiwan has prepared a list of about 12 potential WHS to be inscibed on Unesco's T list. Nevertheless, as Taiwan's political issues with China are ongoing, is there any current plan or alternative routes being considered? Is there any current news about Taiwan's sites being submitted to Unesco, or is this something that might happen in the unforeseable future?

A few of the potencial WHS:
Yangminshan National Park
Taroko Gorge National Park
Jinguashi Settlement
Kinmen Island

Author Solivagant
#2 | Posted: 27 Jul 2009 17:54 | Edited by: Solivagant 
In order to submit sites for UNESCO WHS status Taiwan would have to accede to the World Heritage Convention - not all countries acceding are members of the UN nor even of UNESCO but if they are not they have to be "invited" by the general conference of UNESCO - and there would seem no way in the foreseeable future that China is going to allow that surely!
See this earlier discussion in this Forum

You will note that "Territories or groups of territories that are not responsible for the conduct of their international relations may be admitted as Associate Members." - Can you see Taiwan accepting that? China might even agree if it did!!
You will get a few web hits for a search on Taiwan and "World Heritage site" showing what Taiwan has been doing
This one from 2003 identifies the following 4 sites as the most significant of 11 possibles (1 less than your 12 but they also suggested another site which should be looked at!) - Taroko Gorge, Mount Ali, the Peinan Culture Site, and Chilan Forest.
and this one has a list/description of 7 possible sites visited by an Australian "delegation" which had intended visiting 11.
http://www.ausheritage.org.au/projects/bruce-pettman-undertakes-world-heritage-missio n-to-taiwan/

It seems perfectly natural and proper for Taiwan to want to be part of the heritage world. It has as much to offer and preserve as many other countries but activities concerned with actually going for WHS status would seem to be pipe dreams. It is somewhat illogical for UNESCO to fail to act to help preserve locations which might be of value to Mankind in general just because if "politics" - but logic and organisations like UNESCO don't always go hand in hand! I guess Taiwan could at least go through the motions of preparing and managing selected sites to WHS standards (and surely China DRC should be equally proud of such sites in Taiwan and ought to take a long term view to avoid making such preservation difficult). But I doubt that ICOMOS/IUCN, who evaluate potential WHS sites on behalf of UNESCO, would get involved in "evaluating" them as if they were being put forward for WHS status - though that is an interesting possibility! ICOMOS for instance is "is an international non-governmental organization of professionals, dedicated to the conservation of the world's historic monuments and sites." Since its role assisting UNESCO is only one means by which it achieves its objectives it ought to be prepared to help carry out its mission in other ways in Taiwan - indeed I understand that it does "deal with" Taiwan (??). But it is one thing to help preservation etc and another matter all together to get involved in "assessing" a site a la UNESCO - I doubt that it would! And IUCN is equally "non political" and, I believe, does work in Taiwan re natural conservation (whales/birds etc??) but the same limitation as to what it would be prepared to do if there were any hint of trying to piggy back on the WHS scheme would surely apply?

Of course there are other UNESCO lists such as for "intangible heritage" which Taiwan could also think of pursuing, but no doubt with the same result. For instance Taiwan possesses particularly strong "aboriginal" cultures possessing cultural activities which could benefit from preservation - but again unfortunately it would seem that recognition and support of such preservation is not going to be assisted by any official UNESCO recognition! The "World Biosphere Reserve" scheme is another UNESCO controlled one. The "RAMSAR Wetlands" Convention secretariat may be "hosted" by IUCN but has a membership restricted as follows "Any member of the United Nations or of one of the Specialized Agencies or of the International Atomic Energy Agency or Party to the Statute of the International Court of Justice" -so no room for Taiwan there either! No doubt there are some international organisations with which Taiwan could operate - just as long as they don't require international recognition as a sovereign state!

Author Khuft
#3 | Posted: 28 Jul 2009 18:32 
I wonder whether a "Jerusalem" solution might work... Ie. Jerusalem has been inscribed as a proposal by Jordan - thus circumventing the issue on whether it belongs to Israel or Palestine.

Could a "honest broker" country, which has good relations both with China and with Taiwan, do the same for Taiwanese sites?

Author Solivagant
#4 | Posted: 30 Apr 2010 05:48 

Author winterkjm
#5 | Posted: 30 Apr 2010 14:39 
Interesting. Is it more likely that multiple nations would nominate different sites in Taiwan or possibly just one nation? I do not like the idea/assumption of Japan proposing a specific WHS in Taiwan only because of its relationship to their colonial history there. I would have no problem if Japan nominated all 12+ sites in Taiwan for inscription, including the colonial properties. But for Taiwan's very first WHS to be a product of Japanese colonialism would be unfortunate in my opinion, in respect to other cultural and natural sites in Taiwan. Does anyone have any idea of the prospects of China nominating Taiwan's sites? Would Taiwan being listed (by China itself) be unacceptable as it would then be recognized in part seperate from China? I am trying to think of other nations that could nominate Taiwans WHS besides Japan and China, maybe South Korea, Australia or US (though I think the US would want to stay out of it in regards to China). Anyway, I hope Taiwan succeeds. Taroko Gorge is an incredible place.

Author Solivagant
#6 | Posted: 30 Apr 2010 17:44 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Compromises can certainly be worked out on such matters if both PRC and ROC are prepared to do so. I don't know if you are aware of the "World Games" ? These are a worldwide competition of sports which are NOT currently recognised by the Olympic movement (e.g the Dutch version of Basketball known as Korfball, Tug-of-war and Orienteering) and take place in the year following the Olympics. In 2009 they were held in Kaohsiung, Taiwan AND sportspersons from the PRC took part - but certain "formalities" had to be observed to enable them to do so. Taiwan was prepared to "fit in" perhaps to a quite surprising extent - but even they would only go "so far"! As the following quote indicates, there were still "difficulties". But PRC seemed happy to make a point by boycotting the opening and closing ceremonies whilst still taking part in the actual sports and winning a lot of the medals!

"The 2009 World Games also have a geopolitical twist: they're being hosted by Taiwan the "other" China a year after Beijing hosted the Olympics.
China views self-ruled Taiwan as part of its territory, to be unified by military force if need be. Of late, the two sides have enjoyed warmer relations, under a new, China-friendly president here. But there's a limit to such coziness: China still frowns on any official suggestion that Taiwan is a state. So, while 77 Chinese athletes will compete in the World Games, China boycotted Thursday night's opening ceremonies.
Due to China's sensitivities, Taiwanese athletes must also compete as "Chinese Taipei", under a special flag even though they're on their own soil (Taiwan is not allowed to fly its national flag at World Games venues). That's the result of a compromise struck to allow Taiwan to participate in global sports events."

Adoption of some formula to allow sites from Taiwan to be inscribed as WHS might indeed be a small stepping stone along the road to a peaceful resolution of the problem created by its "separate" existence. Both parties ought at least be able to agree that some of the (Chinese!!) cultural sites there are of OUV and take pride in their preservation and inscription.

Author Khuft
#7 | Posted: 2 May 2010 16:44 
What about Singapore? Singaporeans share (in part) Chinese culture, and the SG government, while officially recognising China, also maintains good relationships with the Taiwanese government (I read that they have share military exercises sometimes). Also, Singapore may feel it has little chances of getting its own sites, so maybe having Taiwanese sites submitted by Singapore would make it happy enough...

Author winterkjm
#8 | Posted: 22 Jan 2011 18:22 
Here is a great site on Taiwan World Heritage. The site goes into great detail concerning 18 potential World Heritage properties in Taiwan. Each property evaluated is also detailed concerning which WH criteria the site meets.


Author winterkjm
#9 | Posted: 2 May 2012 23:53 

Author winterkjm
#10 | Posted: 20 Sep 2013 14:22 | Edited by: winterkjm 
News on Taiwanese World Heritage ambitions. If and when Taiwan is allowed to nominate world heritage sites, would they be limited to the 2 nomination rule (per year) initially? Or would they be able to nominate several sites for inscription at the WHC?

There has been nomination-like documents and research being carried out on the 18 potential world heritage sites in Taiwan since before 2009. Taiwan may potentially be able to submit nomination documents for several properties on a moments notice. This is pure speculation; but there has been significant work in Taiwan to catalogue and research sites in Taiwan that demonstrate criteria for OUV.


Author elsslots
#11 | Posted: 21 Sep 2013 00:04 | Edited by: elsslots 
I think their first one might be the joint nomination of Xiamen / Kinmen with China, about which I posted earlier ( http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/culture/2013-05/11/c_132375255.htm ).

would they be limited to the 2 nomination rule (per year) initially


I wonder what WH material there really is. I will be visiting Taiwan coming November. From the "longlist" ( http://twh.hach.gov.tw/TaiwanE.action ) I might see 4 sites or so, the others are pretty remote for a first visit.

Author winterkjm
#12 | Posted: 21 Sep 2013 00:18 | Edited by: winterkjm 
I wonder what WH material there really is.

Taroko Gorge National Park is pretty spectacular, but difficult to judge if it demonstrates OUV. I also visited the area/parts of Jinguashi Settlement (partly by accident), but at the time there was zero tourist facilities. I have a picture of the Shuinandong Smelter, which is built in 13 stories along the hillside. Impressive, but there was no access in 2008.

If any Japanese Colonial nominations are ever inscribed it will likely come from Taiwan, which has an abundance of well-preserved architecture and structures from that period.

Author elsslots
#13 | Posted: 21 Sep 2013 00:38 
I plan to visit:
- Fort San Domingo (yet another fort)
- Shue-Jin-Jou Mining sites
- Taroko Gorge
- Beinan site (prehistoric archeological site)

Author Durian
#14 | Posted: 24 Sep 2013 21:19 | Edited by: Durian 
Sorry - Deleted

Author elsslots
#15 | Posted: 25 Sep 2013 03:58 
Latest news on Taiwan and WHS

was already posted 4 posts above!

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