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2018 WHC Livestream

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Author Solivagant
#16 | Posted: 25 Jun 2018 15:42 | Edited by: Solivagant 
I have had a look at the 2017 and 2018 WHCs to see if there is likely to have been any change in "make up"/politics/allies/influence etc etc (of course the methodology of selection is intended to keep such changes in "balance", at least in terms of "region", as small as possible)
a. 9 haven't changed - Angola, Azerbaij, B Faso, Cuba, Indones, Kuwait, Tunisia, Tanzan, Zimbab,
b. 12 out - Croatia, Finland, Jamaica, Kazakh, Leb, Peru, Phil, Pol, Port, R of Kor, Turk, Viet
c.. 12 in - Australia, Bahrain, Bosnia, Brazil, China, Guatem, Hun, Kyrgyz, Norway, St Kitts, Spain, Uganda

Of the Outs/Ins there are 8 pretty clear straight "paired replacements" with no reason to believe that the "new" country will act/decide/have influence in any different way from the "old" one. I would put these "pairings" as (Old/New)
Croatia/Bosnia, Finland/Norway, Jamaica/St Kitts, Lebanon/Bahrain, Peru/Brazil, Kazakh/Kyrgyz, Port/Spain, Pol/Hun
Which leaves 4 outs and ins which "might" alter the balance of argument/actions
Out - Philippines, R of Kor, Turk, Viet Nam
In - Austral, China, Guatem, Uganda

China is THE new major player who is likely to have significant direct and indirect impact - far above Viet Nam for whom it could be seen as a "Regional Replacement". Who knows what "hidden" impact it might have - particularly regarding the African countries?
Australia adds to the "European" Liberal democracies (sorry Rep of Korea!!)
Turkey was a significant player in the old WHC - but where did it "stand" as between developing and developed, Arab/non arab etc etc?
Uganda increases the straight "African" vote.
"Far East" lost out in terms of pure numbers 3 "out" but only 1 "in" - counter balanced by the size/influence of China of course

Author Solivagant
#17 | Posted: 26 Jun 2018 03:58 | Edited by: Solivagant 
DAY 2 "State of Conservation of WH properties"
"General" reports from the ABs highlighting the main aspects - (I only pick up IUCN -) Climate Change, extractive industries, hunting, indigenous rights, etc etc
Responses by WHC members - mainly "diplomatic", congratulatory and anodyne. A few more noteworthy points -
Norway - recognises the need to allow economic development but not at the expense of OUV.
Angola - questions the number of sites on the "In Danger list" for 10 and even 20 years (particularly African ones!) . Is this reasonable either they still have OUV or they don't?? Suggests there should be an independent "audit" of these to see if they still need to be on this list. (Supported later by Zimbab)
Cuba - there is a shortfall in AB reports on climate change aspects for SIDS.
Tanzania - supports Angola and Zimbabwe as above!!! Many of these long term danger sites have no conflict or security issues - there are challenges because of financial aspects but these sites shouldn't just be "left" on danger list "for ever".
Poland - refers to the post WWII reconstruction of Warsaw in relation to the reconstruction which will one day be needed in e.g Syria, Libya, Iraq etc. Poland offers assistance - hopes Warsaw will inspire similar reconstruction efforts elsewhere (ref "Warsaw Declaration")
"NGO representative" - a Russian - emphasises impact of "Water infrastructure" activities (Hydro Dams etc) around the World - suggests these are the largest single issue for potentially causing danger to natural sites.
WH Centre reply - 23 sites on danger list for at least 10 years (less than half). Reminds that WHC has already created a process to evaluate reactive monitoring of such sites - funding from Switz and process is ongoing - so wait until it reports next year!
ICOMOS - says that ICOMOS does believe that OUV can be maintained even after a site has been on the danger list for as long as 20 years. Points out that size of list has increased greatly recently because of conflicts in Syria etc (so, ignoring these it is true that "long term" listing is rather high as %age.) Resourcing and capacity building is the right way forward for these long term sites.
ICCROM - when discussing "climate change" need to recognise that it will also have a big potential impact on Cultural WHS - tendency is to concentrate mainly on Natural ones.
Zimbabwe comes back - not entirely convinced by response by WH centre on the "long term danger list" issue!
Angola too states that they will want to come back on this issue with a change to the draft decision on this matter to emphasise need for specific action on the "over 10 year list".
Cuba wants confirmation that they can come back on this matter AFTER the review of individual sites - answer - Yes

Author Solivagant
#18 | Posted: 26 Jun 2018 04:36 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Review of State of Conservation of specific individual sites
Presentation by "Site Managers" as a result of a "Forum" of such managers (supported by Norway) - led by Zambian for Vic Falls - he waits for EVERY site manager involved to come up onto the podium!! Demonstrates a reasonable World wide participation from developing and developed SPs. Among their conclusions - they want WHC to better recognise role of and needs by "WHS Site Management" teams in delivering the results which the Convention requires. Institutionalised assistance, annual forum, capacity building, including site managers in delegations to WHC (!!!! - less room for the Ambassadors??) etc etc.. All seems pretty reasonable. Not enough thought and discussion given to the "coal face workers" generally! (But are all these "site managers" really "coal face" workers??)

Reports to follow on the State of Conservation (SoC) from all 54 in danger sites . Also specific reports on Syria and DRC. Problem is that reports were late and some never arrived! They start on Cultural sites, Rule that WHC members won't speak on their own WHS unless invited to do so by a question from someone else! Also not to submit "updates" during the meeting!!!!

Author jonathanfr
#19 | Posted: 26 Jun 2018 04:36 
"over 10 year list"

Maybe in danger sites over 10 years could be a connection

Author Solivagant
#20 | Posted: 26 Jun 2018 04:54 | Edited by: Solivagant 
SP wants to reconstruct 1 of the 2 destroyed Buddhas (the "less" damaged), Symposium on this in Japan - conclusion that further study is needed - but the possibility IS still alive! ICOMOS and ICCROM concur with symposium conclusion. But other activities also needed if the site is to be removed from In danger.

The "Centre" makes ("with great regret", "only the 3rd", "not made lightly" etc etc) the proposal to remove it from the List. Meetings with Uzbek officials - first to inform and second to hear the Uzbek response -they offer improvements, actions etc. 3rd meeting in Paris - further proposals from SP (a "new government") -but UNESCO believe that there is NO way by which the OUV can be recovered. Similar activities have also been reported at Bukhara and Samarkand - UNESCO VERY concerned. Mostly concerned with new "large scale tourism" projects. Susan Denyer (ICOMOS) - Timurid town planning destroyed and remaining monuments are now sitting in a park unconnected with their environment. Main street between the 2 medinas still existed at time of nomination. She is obviously trying to counter the argument that the main sites DO still exist - refers to original nomination which refers to much more than just the main monuments. The reasonably complete 15th C town with no "analogues" in C Asia as inscribed has gone. What is left doesn't justify Crit iii and iv. If left on the List ICOMOS says it would seriously weaken the credibility of the list.
Concern about Ichan Khala and Bukhara -both didn't rely solely on their main monuments but on the the overall urban landscape - ICOMOS believes these 2 sites CAN still be saved

Azerbaijan (!!) wants to speak - it shares ICOMOS concern - was part of the WHC which decided to inscribe site on "In danger" List - but CANNOT AGREE with the conclusion and words used . Only 10% has been destroyed. Changes were done for sanitation reasons - not tourist devel. Needs more appreciation of SP position and difficulties. Doesn't agree with ICOMOS that SP has only carried out "cosmetic" changes. SP ready to work with AB to prepare Management plan to mitigate impact of what has been done. Azerbaijan doesn't favour hasty removal - "we are here to preserve and help but not blame and shame." (takes 6 minutes instead of 3 - Chair asks for shorter responses!)
Cuba - again reiterates that resolution wording is too harsh (she was leading up to this in her comments yesterday! Secretariat and AB's to take note). Since it is only 10% - doesn't the other 90% have OUV??? Supports Azerbaijan
???? - deep concerns about the development project - take note of conclusions of reactive mission. BUT the Gov of Uzbek must be given full opportunity to improve things. Has only been on In danger list for 2 years.
Tanzania - sympathises with the situation the ABs and WHC find themselves in. Tanzania wants to know more about what was/was not done. Notes good intentions of SP. Rambles on and on - I think he concludes that the SP needs to be given more time - retain it on the in danger list
Angola - purpose of Convention is to "conserve" as far as possible. We take note that there is a serious will on the part of Uzbek to work with centre to improve as far as possible the negative situation which characterises the site. We think it is possible to give the SP more time to take actions and improve matters. A new report in a year's time when the WHC can make an informed decision!
China - Supports view expressed by ALL (!!!) the previous SPs. Would like also to comment - we are questioning the conclusion that removing q0% can destroy OUV - doesn't sound "logical". Purpose is to ENCOURAGE and send the right message to SPs not to punish - more humanity" is required in the message being sent out!! Giving a second or even third chance is always more productive. We are pleased to note that the Uzbek gov has taken strong measures.
Tunisia - we support the experts who were right to highlight the situation but we can't counter one "irreversibility" by another!!! Spirit of Convention is to find solutions -we have a moral duty to to give more time and ensure that we have given the SP every chance!! Letter and spirit of the convention. The Term "irreversible" requires subjunctive - "Might be" or "could be" lost -give SP an extra year.
Spain - shares concern by all previous speakers -how a site inscribed in 2000 has suffered so much - we also have a moral duty towards the government of Uz. Spanish ambassador visited this city in 15th C - Spain IS concerned but we have an opportunity to engage in dialogue to help preserve what remains. It is difficult to keep a part of the site - a sensitive issue - not a property impacted by war
Brazil - the recomm is very drastic espec for a country with ONLY 4 sites. Especially as we have so many sites which have been on the in danger list for so many years! Why the rush??
Zimbabwe - "I can hear the disappointment of ABs and Centre but SP has taken measures and committed itself". It is surprising therefore that instead of giving the SP a chance we are being asked to choose the "easy way out" and delisting. We are ("I am") still doubtful that the OUV IS completely lost. We MUST be certain that we have done everything we can
Burkina Faso - (the first time he has spoken so far at this WHC so he thanks everybody and its dog!). Even suggests putting back the destroyed 10% if the SP is given time!!
Australia (at LAST!!!!) refers to pictures on the screen of the destruction. Oz SUPPORTS the draft resolution but with a heavy heart - we CANT ignore what has gone on. Damage not as a result of disaster or war but the act of man . It is VITAL that SPs are sent a message that they can't just destroy. It isn't simply a matter of 10% v 90% - it is matter of overall integrity. Urban WHS's need development BUT this has been inappropriate and insensitive
Uganda - it is our duty to work together to ensure that the remaining 90% is protected. Give the SP more time
Kuwait - SP "truly thank the AB and share their concern" . "Lost identity", "irreversible", "lost heart of the city" - these are powerpoint words. We are in the business of preserving the "majority" of the city and moving on.
Bosnia - serious concern ..... we need to hear answer of SP to questions before taking a decision - our objective is primarily to preserve and protect. We are on the horns of a dilemma - hasty delisting which would mean the destruction of the site once and for all OR to give a 2nd chance to the SP to see if there is a possibility of doing something to save this site. If so our view is to give this chance and to meet again in 1 year.
Chair - lack of time with the translators (they won't work after 1pm!!!) so we have to await the statements of the final 3 WHC members until after lunch!!!
So - only Australia so far has supported the recommendation to remove the site - Norway has still to speak. It WILL be given an extra year and I suspect that even then the 10%/90% argument about the loss of the former "destroying" OUV will NOT be accepted!

Author warwass
#21 | Posted: 26 Jun 2018 06:22 
Solivagant, thank you for all the updates! Great job, great help for those who can't follow the session!

Author Khuft
#22 | Posted: 26 Jun 2018 06:39 | Edited by: Khuft 
So - only Australia so far has supported the recommendation to remove the site - Norway has still to speak

It seems that they are pretty isolated. This year's WHC session could be even more biased against the Advisory Bodies than previous ones (which sounds barely possible!). THough it's good to see African countries taking such an active part - they used to be more subdued. Anyway, if Shakhrisyabz can escape delisting, then Khor Dubai surely can get another deferral again, or even an outright inscription.

Too bad this year's committee wasn't the one discussing Dresden - that delisting now seems ludicrous compared with Shakhrisyabz's shenanigans.

Author meltwaterfalls
#23 | Posted: 26 Jun 2018 07:30 | Edited by: meltwaterfalls 
Too bad this year's committee wasn't the one discussing Dresden - that delisting now seems ludicrous compared with Shakhrisyabz's shenanigans.

It certainly does, I revisited a few years ago having previously visited before the bridge was built, and to be honest it felt in a much better state on my second visit.

I wonder if, due to the politics of the situation, Dresden wouldn't have received the support of the countries that Uzbekistan is currently receiving.
Many of the SPs perhaps identify with the issues that led Uzbekistan to act in that way it did and don't have the sort of measures that ICOMOS would see as essential to maintaining a good management of the site.

I don't really buy the 90% is still there so it doesn't matter if we just demolish the other 10% argument, it is a slightly dangerous precedent to set and removes any potential enforcement actions that the already reasonably powerless WHC can use.

Extrapolating that logic to other sites, if the Italian government decided to knock down the Coliseum to alleviate traffic congestion, should Rome still be on the list because Piazza Navonna and the Roman Forum are untouched?

And purely hypothetical of course, say the current Polish Government decides to cut down the majority of the old growth trees in Bialowieza Forest, and sell them off for profit (perhaps even profit generated by people close to cabinet members), should there be no recourse to action because the majority of the Bison have been moved to a smaller area and there are lots of very old trees on the Belorussian side?

Author Solivagant
#24 | Posted: 26 Jun 2018 10:38 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Shakhrisyabz contd
It is all over now but it seems worth continuing with a summary of the concluding discussions on this matter as occurred after lunch!
Kyrgyzstan - First Kyrgyz contribution on any matter to date. Join with Azerbaijan etc that delisting is premature. She has actually visited Shakhrisyabz as an expert so "knows" about it. Doesn't believe that it can "lose" its OUV as easily as ICOMOS etc are suggesting. Blames UNESCO for not keeping in better touch considering that it has an office in Tashkent!
Norway - Has listened carefully to the comments made so far - that being said he can't accept the idea of 90% of value nor of enough integrity still being present. Without doubt there can be no argument that the damage is so great that there is no choice but to support the draft decision
Uzbekistan - Pictures on the screen do NOT represent the reality of what has happened and give the wrong impression altogether. They have also been doing preservation work in conjunction with experts from Germany and UK. His country is open to continue dialogue - before such a rash decision members of the WHC should visit - he invites them to visit!!
Rapporteur - has received a series of complex amendments from Azerbaijan etc and also from Brazil separately. All amendments go with the idea of retaining this property on the inscribed list. They spend time "wordsmithing" to this effect - mostly too convoluted to describe. We can await the final version! BUT - Nb the inclusion of the phrase "Some aspects of OUV have been damaged" i.e it still has OUV overall!!! "Describes to retain the site ... and to continue the reinforced monitoring mechansim until next year's WHC.
Brazil proposes that a joint proposal from SP/ICOMOS should be made next year containing NEW boundaries and a NEW Name of the site to reflect the changes made to the site!!!!!!!
Norway - not happy with the wording -e/g the attempt to rewrite history by retrospectively altering the proposal already made!!
The WH Centre - Also attempting to alter "factual" aspects re e.g %ages of area impacted which were discussed and agreed last year!
ICOMOS - it can't agree that 90% of site being undamaged can't be taken as being the same as 90% of the site's OUV being extant . The Commission has already looked in detail about whether anything could be dones to recover the attributes of OUV. The WHC hasn't made any clear proposal as to how such attributes could be recovered so can't really make a proposal about this.
Norway - we are far from a consensus on the matter of the decision - proposes a drafting group to do so.
Bahrain - A majority are in favour of maintaining the site on the List so are, within this framework is happy to support a group as proposed by Norway. Need to look at the issue of boundary amendments in any redrafting.
Brazil - Agrees to drafting group - many monuments still maintain to some extent the intrinsic values which led to inscription. Boundary modifications could retain these values. Even possibly a serial approach for each monument within the city
Spain - supports drafting group - need to analyse what the SP has accepted, what steps need to be taken within the next year etc etc. We have to be cautious with this decision to take time to make sure that elements of property which have value ARE protected.
Oz - wants the "last word"!!! Having heard Uzbekistan and all the other comments Oz is prepared to accept/support the drafting group proposal to clarify what is to be done in the next 12 mths.
Chair - Brazil to establish a group of 5 persons from the Committee - it will be interesting to see which countries it chooses! Come back tomorrow
Volunteers - Oz (gets in quicky!!), Bosnia, Spain ...... , Cuba , Bosnia, Zimbabwe and China (Soon it will be the entire WHC)!!!!!! Zimbabwe again says that it is volunteering Tanzania. What CHAOS!!! Cuba says that the process should be open and ALL interested members should be able to take part.
Finally Brazil to chair plus any members who want to join!!
Please - do we have a room to meet in........?
So - we await tomorrow for the final Decision!

Kosovo Mediaeval Monuments
Hungary says that the "time is not right" to discuss this site and proposes postponement for a year - seconded by Spain and Azerbaijan. Agreed. No one tries to explore what exactly the problem "at this time" is.

Liverpool - a statement is made by an "NGO member" as a "Civil Society Actor" ho has been "crowdfunded" to be there by the people of Liverpool to enable him to emphasise Liverpool's great desire to remain as a WHS. And with the support of WH Centre etc etc great changes have been made to the previous proposals (by all concerned including Peel Holdings!) ..... with that objective in mind
Not really quite sure what all that was about and what it was intended to achieve!! It sounded like a "holding operation" to give the city another year to get its act together and finally get itself removed from the "in danger" list

East Rennell , Solomon Islands
No State of Conservation report was ever received despite request last year.
BUT - the Centre DID receive a note from a Group of local tribespeople informing the Centre that it was removing its part of the site from the inscription!!! This raises serious questions about inscribing sites where they are in "Customary Ownership"!
Oz provides some background - rising sea levels, rats etc etc have been creating great pressure on the indigenous peoples who have less land to grow crops on. Indigenous peoples need help and understanding!

Belize Barrier Reef
Removed from In danger list

Author Colvin
#25 | Posted: 26 Jun 2018 23:56 
Thanks for the update, Solivagant!

And purely hypothetical of course, say the current Polish Government decides to cut down the majority of the old growth trees in Bialowieza Forest, and sell them off for profit

Nice hypothetical! Purely hypothetically, they could be taking the long view and are planning to use the timber to build summer homes celebrated for their avant-garde architecture so that in 200 years they can submit the Early 21st Century Dachas of the Bialowieza as a WHS. But probably not.

Author paul
#26 | Posted: 27 Jun 2018 06:40 
I visited Shakhrisyabz in October 2016. I was looking forward to visiting the "most Uzbek city" with "the liveliest bazaar" in Uzbekistan. Unlike Clyde I was absolutely shocked. The main monuments were just isolated buildings on a manicured lawn. The horrible black plastic paving tiles also to be found in Bukhara and Samarkand had been laid for the golf carts. The remaining residential parts of the old city were totally segregated from what had obviously become a tourist orientated park, not an historical center. The market had been moved to a modern enclosure (the "peasant market"), leaving the chorsu empty and surrounded by grass. I think the reasons were not sanitation but sanitization. This process was also happening in Bukhara, Samarkand and even Khiva where my chosen traditional guest house had just been demolished for a large restaurant terrace for tour groups. Uzbekistan is a great destination in danger of becoming a characterless theme park of itself.

Author Sjobe
#27 | Posted: 27 Jun 2018 08:04 | Edited by: Sjobe 
I just checked the Google Earth view of Shakhrisyabz and I was also shocked – oh my, what has happened. I didn't know that they have altered the old city that much. Big part of it and bazaar is gone and it now looks like some Disneyland for tourists. I think this is totally unacceptable. It's definitively not what it was when it was inscribed.

I visited Shakhrisyabz on April 2013 and I was left with impression of authentic and remote Uzbek city. The town was shabby and people lived normal daily lives which was nice to see after Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva. I wouldn't want this to be removed from the list but in current condition there are not any other alternatives, I think.

Author Solivagant
#28 | Posted: 27 Jun 2018 09:58 | Edited by: Solivagant 
I just checked the Google Earth view of Shakhrisyabz and I was also shocked

The "Historical Imagery" view has it on a number of dates between 19th Sept 2011 and 23rd Oct 2017. So you can track the changes across the c6 years. I am surprised that ICOMOS didn't use that - Uzbekistan said that the photos it did use "gave the wrong impression"

Author meltwaterfalls
#29 | Posted: 27 Jun 2018 11:21 
I haven't been able to follow today, and haven't been able to find any details of what happened via other sources (Twitter mainly #42whc)

Only thing of note I found was:
#WorldHeritage Committee discussing State of Conservation of #Pakistan's Fort & #Shalamar Gardens, #Lahore at its 42nd session, Bahrain. Site proposed for List of WH in Danger, due to the 'Orange Line', transport project damaging its #OUV (authenticity, setting). #42whc #HUL #HIA

Author AJRC
#30 | Posted: 27 Jun 2018 12:27 
Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System has been removed from the list in danger. Good news.

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