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WHC Meeting in Brasilia (2010)

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Author meltwaterfalls
#31 | Posted: 1 Aug 2010 16:03 
Mexico has its usual good showing Camino Real de Tierra Adentro and Prehistoric Caves of Oaxaca Valley have been included.

Did Mexico really put forward 3 cultural sites this year?
I can't work it out; is the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro significantly different from the Camino Real San Luois Potosi? They both seem to be concerned with the transportation of Silver and Mercury. Was mercury transportation such a big hole in the list that it would need two sites in one country reflecting this?

Weird one on the Walloon mining sites, it was an official tweet that announced it last night. Maybe they just got a little confused as the website seems to be pretty swiftly updated for the rest of the sites.

Author Solivagant
#32 | Posted: 1 Aug 2010 18:28 | Edited by: Solivagant 
There is quite a lot to write about re the proposed Mexican sites!!

But, to start with, the "Intercontinental Camino Real" ("Royal Road") isn't strictly anything to do with the "Camino Real de Tierra Adentro" other than it overlaps geographically in the town of San Luis Potosi (SLP) and, I guess that silver has something to do with both (but then "coal" has something to do with most of UK's Industrial sites!). N.b. being a trans-boundary nomination it presumably didn't count against Mexico's nomination quota (+/or it was a resubmission)!! The whole concept of title "Intercontinental Camino Real" linking the 3 towns included in the submission seems to be something of a "figleaf" to justify the rather weak linkage. Indeed the very title of the submission seems very recent - previously I am sure it was called the "The Mercury and Silver Binomial. Almadén and Idrija with San Luis Potosí" (whatever that meant!) - and still is in the May WHC papers WHC-10/34.COM/8B. Yes there was a strong link between Europe and mining towns in the Americas (i.e Mexico/Peru and Bolivia) regarding the use of Mercury in the silver smelting process there from Europe as well as at mines in Spain but as far as I can see the use of the term in the nomination of these particular 3 towns (or 4 if only Peru had got its act together with its mining town - as ICOMOS keeps reminding the other partners!) is really a modern post hoc linkage rather than a genuine and widely used historical one. My review of the "Binomial" T list site as it was called in in 2008, covers some of the problematic aspects of SLP. In particular the fact that the town wasn't actually the location for mining!! This took place elsewhere in the state of SLP (and others) - albeit that some mines were relatively close to the city. But such mines have not been included in the nomination perhaps partly because of some rather nasty environmental issues in contemporary mining! SLP grew rich on the silver and the mint and is a pleasant enough "Colonial town" but I suspect that the main reason it got included was that Mexico had been looking somehow to get a nomination for the state of SLP and had already overused its quota of "Colonial cities" per se!

The Camino Real de Tierra Adentro ("Royal road of the Interior Lands" - which was the widely used historical name for the route) also just "happens" to go through San Luis Potosi - well in fact the main route from Mexico City to Santa Fe doesn't really - but there was no official Road naming system in "those days" to define EXACTLY what the route was and spurs certainly linked San Luis Potosi into the overall North/South route. And of course Silver etc was only one aspect of the trade and communications which followed the Camino Real -which itself encompasses aspects going back to pre-colonial times. This nomination certainly suffered logically from the fact that the main route goes through the existing WHS of San Miguel, Queretaro, Guanajuato and Zacatecas (and Mexico City of course!) - when I was in Zacatecas in 2008 I came across signs commemorating the Camino Real - I remember taking a photo in case it ever got inscribed!! Again I think Mexico was really trying to push the more northern part of the route through the state of Durango - which also lacked a WHS. I understand that the better authentic remains of the route itself are further north. It might have been better if Mexico had limited this nomination to the more northerly section and towns to avoid the criticism of double counting made by ICOMOS but that also might have compromised the integrity of the whole? Mexico presumably tried and failed to get the USA to support a trans-national nomination but I don't remember the possibility figuring in the discussions about the new US T List. The US certainly "commemorates" its part of the Camino through to Santa Fe but didn't seem to want to join with Mexico on the matter?

Author winterkjm
#33 | Posted: 2 Aug 2010 00:25 | Edited by: winterkjm 
Summary of the New Inscriptions

What a diverse list for 2010? Has there ever been a year with so few European sites? (Only 4 new sites out of 21?) Three countries with their first inscription. More progress inscribing worthy sites in the Pacific. Cultural sites on astronomy, trade, traditional villages, a bazaar, indegineous, historic towns, royal, pre-historic, and nuclear? Fairly ecclectic group. Also eight successful extensions, mostly in Europe. Great year for China, Mexico, and Iran. (China will soon pass all countries in total WHS) This year did lack any new sites from Africa, but overall I am very pleased with the 2010 inscriptions.

Twenty-one total sites is not too large. Someone said last year after 13 new sites "is this something we can expect in the following years?" I believe so, I don't think there will be any more years where there is more than 25 new inscriptions. Hopefully the trend of less sites from Europe also continues. (Nothing against Europe, just feel the list needs better representation). Also can we expect more extentions, particularly from Europe as world class sites in their respective T-lists continue to shrink?

15 Cultural Sites
5 Natural Sites
1 Mixed Site

Asia (10)
Historic Monuments of Dengfeng in "The Centre of Heaven and Earth" (China)
China Danxia (China)
Historic Villages of Korea: Hahoe and Yangdong (Korea, Republic of)
Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long-Hanoi (Vietnam)
Turaif Quarter in Al-Diriyyah (Saudi Arabia)
Sheikh Safi al-Din Khânegâh and Shrine Ensemble in Ardabil (Iran)
Tabriz Historic Bazaar Complex (Iran)
Proto-urban site of Sarazm (Tajikistan)
Jantar Mantar (India)
Central Highlands of Sri Lanka (Sri Lanka)

North & South America (4)
Papahânaumokuâkea (USA)
Camino Real de Tierra Adentro (Mexico)
Prehistoric caves of Yagul and Mitla in the Central Valley of Oaxaca (Mexico)
São Francisco Square in the town of São Cristovão (Brazil)

Europe (4)
Pitons, cirques and remparts of Reunion Island (France) *Located near Madagascar
Episcopal City of Albi (France)
Seventeenth-Century Canal Ring Area of Amsterdam inside the Singelgracht (Netherlands)
Putorana Plateau (Russia)

Oceania (3)
Australian Convict Sites (Australia)
Phoenix Islands Protected Area (Kiribati)
Bikini Atoll (Marshall Islands)

Author Solivagant
#34 | Posted: 2 Aug 2010 02:34 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Herewith a summary of decisions reached by the WHC compared with the recommendations of the Advisory Bodies (AB) as in the Provisional Agenda of May. New sites only - not extensions (PS - list and arithmetic corrected now for late arriving inscription of Putorana)

I guess that, in some cases the States Parties might have been able to address the problem in the intervening 2 months but many of the issues raised by the ABs seem too large for that to have happened

INSCRIBED (with original AB recommendation)
Dengfeng (China) Resubmission - Inscribe
Danxia (China) - Defer
Hahoe and Yangdong (S Korea) - Refer
Thang Long-Hanoi (Vietnam) - Defer
Al-Diriyyah (S Arabia) - Defer
Ardabil (Iran) - Inscribe
Tabriz (Iran) - Inscribe
Sarazm (Tajikistan) Resubmission - Inscribe
Jantar Mantar (India) - Refer
Central Highlands (Sri Lanka)- Refer/Defer (but only inscribed on Natural criteria –and not on vii/viii)
Papahânaumokuâkea (USA) - Inscribe
Camino Real (Mexico) - Refer
Yagul and Mitla (Mexico) - Refer
São Cristovão (Brazil) Resubmission - Defer
Australian Convict Sites (Australia) - Refer
Phoenix Islands (Kiribati) - Defer
Bikini Atoll (Marshall Islands) - Refer
Pitons of Reunion Island (France) - Inscribe
Albi (France) - Inscribe
Amsterdam (Netherlands) – Inscribe
Putorana (Russia) Resubmission - Inscribe

NOT INSCRIBED (with original AB recommendation)
Dinosaur Ichnites (Spain/Port) – No
Tajik NP (Tajikistan) – Defer
Augustowski Canal Poland/B'rus) – No
Mining sites (Belgium) – Defer
Konso (Ethiopia) – Defer
Galilee sites (Israel) – No
Triple Arch Gate (Israel) – Postpone (Again!!!)
Fort Jesus (Kenya) – Defer
Merc/Silver Binom (Mex, Sp, Slov) – Defer
Darwin's Landscape (UK) – No
Mt Vernon (USA) - Defer

a. Of 21 new sites which were inscribed the WHC didn't follow the original AB recommendation on 12 of them!! I haven't done a full similar comparison in earlier years but this does seem to be a higher %age than I remember. 2 of the differences allowed new countries to gain an inscription, and another allowed a significant country (Saudi Arabia) which previously only had 1 inscribed site so it appears that this aspect was important to the WHC. Sri Lanka was perhaps a bit lucky not to be told by the WHC to go back and present the site as an extension to Sinharaja -as IUCN wanted. I am surprised that "regular" players like Mexico managed to get through when the concerns of the AB's on each site seemed very justified! On the other hand, some of the AB concerns nowadays do seem to be very "nit picking" - Hahoe's etc problem for instance was that it didn't have a "coordinated" management system across the 2 sites, but as a country which is already "well represented", one might have expected that the WHC would have dug its heels in. Though possibly this is an example of where Korea "supplied the necessary" before the WHC! Sao Cristovao had a long list of systemic/bureaucratic weaknesses - but the WHC must have thought it was time to give Brazil a break after rejections in earlier years! China seems to have been given a "warning" shot over Danxia that it isn't all as easy as it might think and it really needs to get its house in order over protecting its inscribed sites. Iran on the other hand appears to be able to do no wrong" with its nominations.
b. 12 nominated sites didn't get inscribed but we don't yet fully know the final decision of the WHC as to how many have been deferred/referred but 4 got a straight "No" from the AB. 2 of these (Ichnites and Darwin - though the latter doesn't appear as such in the documentation) were "resubmissions" so the countries involved were not able to overcome previously identified problems. Possibly significantly all 4 were for "European" sites as well (Israel counts as "European" to UNESCO). One really would have expected European sites to be able to get their act together to determine which sites are likely to gain inscription and to produce adequate proposals - are they just running out of sites (and one of those which succeeded was an overseas territory), are they trying to "push" the boundaries of what is acceptable too much or is UNESCO giving them are hard time because it considers them over-represented??

Author winterkjm
#35 | Posted: 2 Aug 2010 02:44 | Edited by: winterkjm 
I did a bit of research and found only in the year 1982 did Europe have less sites inscribed. (# and % wise) Also 2010 had the largest amount of inscriptions in one year for the Asia/Pacific region in the history of the list. (12)

Author Assif
#36 | Posted: 2 Aug 2010 11:18 
Putorana and Mt Giorgio extension to Italy are both in now!

Author Khuft
#37 | Posted: 2 Aug 2010 11:41 
Incidentally, with "Camino Real" Mexico managed to add a few more city centers to the List, among others Aguascalientes and Durango (which are also the capital cities of their eponymous states). Soon no capital city in Mexico will be without the WHS accolade...

Author Solivagant
#38 | Posted: 2 Aug 2010 12:47 | Edited by: Solivagant 
My quick calculation for Mexican inscribed State Capitals is 14 out of 32 plus 2 more on the Tlist - highlighted in bold (State followed by Capital city)

Aguascalientes Aguascalientes - Insc (Camino - plus its own T List site)
Baja California Mexicali
Baja California Sur La Paz
Campeche Campeche - Insc
Chiapas Tuxtla Gutiérrez
Chihuahua Chihuahua
Coahuila Saltillo
Colima Colima
Distrito Federal México - Insc (plus Camino)
Durango Durango - Insc (Camino)
Guanajuato Guanajuato - Insc (plus Camino)
Guerrero Chilpancingo
Hidalgo Pachuca
Jalisco Guadalajara - Insc (Hospicio Cabanas)
México Toluca
Michoacán Morelia - Insc
Morelos Cuernavaca - Insc (One of the Popocateptl monasteries)
Nayarit Tepic
Nuevo León Monterrey -T List (2 different Industrial sites)
Oaxaca Oaxaca - Insc
Puebla Puebla - Insc
Querétaro Querétaro - Insc (plus Camino)
Quintana Roo Chetumal
San Luis Potosí San Luis Potosí - Insc (Camino)
Sinaloa Culiacán
Sonora Hermosillo
Tabasco Villahermosa
Tamaulipas Ciudad Victoria
Tlaxcala Tlaxcala - T List (extension to Popocateptl)
Veracruz Xalapa
Yucatán Mérida - Insc
Zacatecas Zacatecas - Insc (plus Camino)

Some of the others are real dumps - Mexicali and Villahermosa for instance
I wonder what a similar exercise for French Departments/Prefectures might show? I don't think Germany has gone particularly for its Lander and their capitals - and they even lost Dresden of course! A more subtle evaluation might be to look at the sharing across states whether capitals or not - I think many Countries take that into account and I suspect that some of the Mexican states whose capitals haven't made it above (nor ever will) will have their share of other sites - well, 10 states alone for the Camino of course!

Author elsslots
#39 | Posted: 2 Aug 2010 13:24 
Regarding the spreading among states/provinces - none of the Dutch WHS is located in what we call "below the rivers", which means: in the 3 southern provinces of the country. Besides a geographical divide, this part of the country also has a different religious and cultural background (roman catholic versus the protestant north).

Author Khuft
#40 | Posted: 2 Aug 2010 13:29 
Regarding Germany: actually they do have a Lander-focused policy. The tentative list as well as the ranking of nominations is set by a conference of all Lander culture minister (which seem to be responsible for this). When Heidelberg was deferred twice, and Schwetzingen failed too, Baden-Wuerttemberg faced complaints by other states in the queue that started to become frustrated and wanted to have their go.

Author Assif
#41 | Posted: 2 Aug 2010 19:08 | Edited by: Assif 
The same exercise for:

France - Strasbourg (Alsace), Bordeaux twice with Santiago (Aquitaine), Paris twice with Santiago (Ile de France), Clermont-Ferrand in Santiago (Auvergne), Amiens twice in Santiago and belfries (Picardie), Poitiers in Santiago (Poitou-Charantes), Toulouse in Santiago (Midi-Pyrenees), Lille in Belfries (Nord-pas-de-Calais), Basancon in Vauban (Franche-Comte)

Italy - Milan in Last Supper (Lombardy), Turin in Savoy Residences (Piedmont), Genoa (Liguria), Venice (Veneto), Naples (Campania), Rome (Lazio), Florence (Tuscany), Palermo in Villa del Causale (Sicily)

Spain - Seville (Andalusia), Barcelona twice in Gaudi and Palau de la Musica (Catalunia), Oviedo (Asturias), Toledo (Castile-la Mancha), Merida (Extramadura), Santiago (Galicia),

Author Durian
#42 | Posted: 2 Aug 2010 21:10 | Edited by: Durian 
The same exercise for:


I don't think France has the spreading policy to all "Regions". In Recent year i have not seen such kind of regional rotation in its nomination; however most of them apart from Oversea territories are concentrated in southwestern France; Bordeaux, Cevennes, Rivage Mediterrenean, Albi and Vauban site, which I think this area is already well represented on the list with four sites around Avignon, Carcarsonne, Canal du Midi, one of Vauban, Pyranee and many places in the Routes of Santiago.

For Italy, UK, Germany and Spain, I'M SURE for such kind of poliy. I also start to question South Korea and India from its new tentative list which quite spread all corners of the country.

Author winterkjm
#43 | Posted: 3 Aug 2010 02:54 | Edited by: winterkjm 
I think many countries are in part guilty of this policy. Korea included, yet I don't percieve this policy as all negative, particularly if it's flexible and not overly rigid in it's pursuit. South Korea for one is not a "strict" follower in this policy. I don't doubt they would like to see sites from each province be recognized as world heritage, however, if you breakdown their inscriptions and nominations it highlights the major achievements in most of the various Korean dynasties. Also 4 of the 10 Korean world heritage sites are located in and around Seoul. So part of the reason more Korean nominations are spreading around the country is that Seoul is already well-represented.

Seoul and vacinity
- Jongmyo Shrine
- Changdeokgung Palace Complex
- Hwaesong Fortress
- Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty *(Interesting that 17 of 18 locations of these tomb clusters are found in and around Seoul, yet one site is located in Gangwon province. If you take a look at the interactive world heritage map on the Unesco site, you will find the marker for the Royal Tombs is found in Gangwon province which has no other inscriptions.)

South Korea's attempt to have sites insribed from each Dynasty

Joseon Dynasty
- 5 Inscriptions (Changdeokgung, Hwaseong, Royal Tombs, Jongmyo, and Hahoe/Yangdong Villages)

Silla Dynasty
- 2 Inscriptions (Gyeongju & Bulguksa/Seokguram)

Baekja Dynasty
- 2 Nominations (Gongju/Buyeo & Iksan Historic Areas)

Goryeo Dynasty
- 1 Nomination (Kiln Sites)

Inclusive Site - Baekje, Silla, Goryeo, and Joseon
- 2 Nominations (Namhansanseong & Ancient Mountain Fortresses)

Korea has recently become more creative in its nominations. With sites like the Salterns, Tidal Flats, and Petroglyphs. Korea may have 4-5 sites that have the potential to be inscribed in the coming years, beyond that they would likely have a very hard time convincing the WHC of the "Outstanding Universal Value" of additional sites.

Author Solivagant
#44 | Posted: 3 Aug 2010 04:50 | Edited by: Solivagant 
We might all have thought that "Darwin's Landscape Laboratory" had finally been killed off - but, like some zombie, it will not die!!
I have just seen this post on the UK's Department of Culture Web site

Apparently the site has only been "deferred". Indeed we are told that "The World Heritage Committee announced that although the bid was very strong in terms of recognising scientific achievement, further in-depth study and analysis was needed. They have referred (sic) the nomination back to the UK authorities for these issues to be addressed."

None of this seems to mesh with the draft decison document we have had access to (WHC-10/34.COM/8B) which just made the bald comment that the WHC "1. Having examined Documents WHC-10/34.COM/8B and WHC-10/34.COM/INF.8B1, 2. Decides not to inscribe Darwin's Landscape Laboratory, United Kingdom, on the World Heritage List."

I have checked the words used for the other "rejections" in this paper and all the cultural sites were equally thin on comment - only that for the Dinosaur Ichnites went into more detail, suggesting consideration of a Geoparks program etc.

My suspicious mind wonders if the UK government is not being entirely open on what actually happened but they must know that the ICOMOS evaluation and the minutes of the WHC will be published. Another possibility is that the WHC gave them a way out by agreeing a deferral without any real expectation that the UK will "come back" (One wonders if Mt Vernon was similarly "deferred"). But perhaps it is all "genuine" and the UK really does believe that it can do yet more work to get this site inscribed!! At the moment it is giving every public indication that it intends doing so.

Durian - can you, via your contact, shed any light on what was actually said at the WHC about this nomination?

Author Durian
#45 | Posted: 3 Aug 2010 11:51 | Edited by: Durian 
Durian - can you, via your contact, shed any light on what was actually said at the WHC about this nomination?

Dear Solivagant,

My contact informed me that the problem of Darwin's nomination is a battle of support and anti-Darwinism in WHC member (together with UK lobbying success!) and "why not?" question, so in diplomatic way conclusion, no decline nor accept for this nomination!
Anyway, my contact insists us to wait the final minute of meeting or read the ICOMOS report in 2007.

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