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What are they doing all day in Paris anyway? Forum / What are they doing all day in Paris anyway? /  

Sites which shamefully disappeared from T-lists

Author Assif
#1 | Posted: 28 Oct 2012 18:04 | Edited by: Assif 
When revising the T-lists member states often leave out sites that formerly featured on the T-list. Some of these omitted sites are valuable and I wonder why no new nomination is underway. Such examples:

Guyana - Kaieteur
(one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world). The nomination was criticised for not encompassing more of the natural reserve but then completely disappeared.

UK - Cambridge (iconic university centre with a typical architecture). I know there's opposition from the university due to excessive tourism, but if the site managed its way to the former T-list, how come it didn't pass through?

Costa Rica - Guyalbo (maybe the best known site of the Intermediate Area between the Mesoamerican and Andean cultures). It was criticised for not being thoroughly excavated, but compared to so many other inscribed properties (Cahokia and Kernave come to mind) I can't see how this would justify a complete exclusion.

Greece - Akrotiri (together with Knosos the most important testimony of the Aegean pre-Hellenic culture). The site is exceptionally well preserved. The problem was that ICOMOS also wished the rest of the island inscribed, mainly its well known white-blue vernacular architecture. I don't know of any plans to nominate the entire island. Meanwhile, Akrotiri left the T-list.

Author winterkjm
#2 | Posted: 28 Oct 2012 21:19 | Edited by: winterkjm 
These 17 National Parks were all part of the United States former Tentative List. I can't imagine many of them actually submitted a complete nomination. I am suprised none of them were renewed for the 2010 update. It was however, a stated priority to balance the US heritage list between cultural and natural properties, as it is currently far better represented with natural sites. I do believe however, that some of these sites are exceptional. Many probably lacked interest, 5 of these national parks are located in Utah, 2 in Texas (both very conservative states).

Acadia National Park
Arches National Park
Big Bend National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Canyonlands National Park
Capitol Reef National Park
Crater Lake National Park
Death Valley National Park
Grand Teton National Park
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Joshua Tree National Park
Mount Rainier National Park
North Cascades National Park
Rocky Mountains National Park
Saguaro National Park
Sequoia/King Canyon National Parks
Zion National Park

Author Solivagant
#3 | Posted: 29 Oct 2012 05:10 | Edited by: Solivagant 
"Shamefully Disappeared"

"Shamefully" to whom??
2 of the 4 (Cambridge and Kaieteur) had previously tried to gain inscription and failed to satisfy the AB/the WHC - perhaps they have concluded that the "game isn't worth the candle"? Especially when they see some other sites which DO get inscribed which appear to be less "good" on the exact same criteria which led to their own rejection!!

Cambridge clearly doesn't "need" the inscription for any rational purpose (neither for protection nor for profit) - we have discussed it before on this forum.

Kaieteur has also been discussed ( 28 Oct ge=0#msg1764 ) . However I have tried to discover more about what, if anything, has happened but have found very little

a. This quote from the Georgetown newspaper "Kaieteur News" of 2004 was quite interesting/illuminating "However, it is believed that Kaieteur's nomination was not treated in a consistent manner by the Committee and was unfairly compared with Caniama Park in Venezuela and the Central Suriname Nature Reserve, which in terms of size are larger but in terms of species, endemism, diversity and distribution, Kaieteur is superior."
b. I discovered that UNESCO made a grant to Guyana as long ago as 2002 for $18500 for "Preparation of cluster natural nomination of Kaieteur Falls, Iwokrama Forest and Rupununi Wetlands" But there doesn't seem to have been a published result -certainly this "cluster" of locations hasn't appeared on Guyana's T List
c. And this from 2008 which states that the newly appointed Secretary General of the Guyana National Commission for UNESCO intended trying to resurrect the quest a nomination to the list IBAJ&pg=1800,7983713
But it is full of phrases like "She was unable to pinpoint exactly what had to be done" and "a small committee which has not been functioning was formed to complete the nomination dossier"!!
d. I note that Kaieteur acquired a Visitor Centre and a Web site last year which indicates some activity taking place to do something to promote the location. But the site contains absolutely NO mention of any WHS aspiration. There are references however to improved Management Planning - "When Implemented it is expected that the plan will lead to the park generating a continuous flow of income to meet all its operational costs thereby ensuring the park's sustainability in the future. The plan will also support community development and improve participation in park management as a means of promoting effective management of Kaieteur National Park." See =31
It is quite clear where the priorities for Kaieteur lie!!
e. This Web site contains an interesting history of the Park boundaries - which were of course criticised as being too small by IUCN. It appears that the original 1929 boundaries were reduced in 1973 "due to to pressure to open up the area, rich in gold and diamonds, to allow mining". But they had been significantly extended way beyond the original ones in 1999 (presumably in order to support the original nomination) "protecting the watershed and the integrity of the area from mining." It must have been particularly galling then to be told by IUCN that the site wasn't big enough. It may have been true that the boundaries were till less than ideal but might it not have been better to have accepted the newly extended ones and brought the site "within the UNESCO fold"? That might well have happened in 2011 or 2012!
f. I wonder if the idea of a "cluster" nomination to include Iwokrama has foundered on the issue of the possible Boa Vista - Georgetown highway? This highly controversial piece of infrastructure, which would go through Iwokrama (currently it is only an old gravel road and no river bridge), has been strongly objected to by preservation organisations but could be regarded as a "strategic" development" by Guyana as a country. The frontier bridge at Lethem has already been built!

Author Assif
#4 | Posted: 29 Oct 2012 18:25 
I meant regrettably rather than shamefully...

Author Solivagant
#5 | Posted: 30 Oct 2012 09:11 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Sorry Assif, I hadn't meant to pass comment on any possible misuse of English - I am always impressed by the facility with which non English speakers on this Forum use my language and somewhat shamefaced at my own inability to match them to that degree in any other language!

It did seem possible that the "shame" might either be being assigned to the countries for not pursuing these sites or to UNESCO/IUCN/ICOMOS for not facilitating them!

I am particularly interested in Guyana, specifically from having spent a couple of weeks there a few years ago and generally from a wider interest in the difficulties which developing countries have in pursuing cultural and natural protection.

I have found more documents relevant to Guyana's long quest for a "World Heritage site". Amazingly one of them dates right back to 1980 - only 2 years after the first inscriptions. So Guyana has been "working" (if that is the right word!) towards gaining an inscription for over 32 years!!
The document titled "Identification of Potential Biosphere Reserves and World Heritage sites (Natural)"
concludes that there are 2 potential natural WHS in Guyana - Kaieteur and "The Roraima area of the Upper Mazaruni Watershed". Further it states that the latter is a better candidate than the former!
Yet both have fallen by the wayside - Kaieteur after a failed attempt as we have discussed ... whilst Roraima has, as far as I am aware, NEVER been pursued! Perhaps the clue for this lies in the map provided in the above report which shows the proposed boundaries as following the Venezuelan and Brazilian frontiers where all 3 countries "meet" at Mt Roraima.
A look at the map of Venezuela's existing Canaima inscription is instructive -
Although we have a "Connection" for this site as being on an International Boundary it does in fact only reach the boundary at one point - the very summit of Mt Roraima. But, to the NE of Roraima the map doesn't show "Guyana" - only a "Zona en Reclamacion"!! This is because the entire "Roraima area" propsed as a potential Guyanan WHS back in 1980 is in fact still claimed by Venezuela - a claim they reiterated in 1966 on Guyana's indpendence. It is interesting that UNESCO have allowed a map to be placed on its web site which states, without any reference to Guyana's claim and de facto occupation, that Venezuela claims the area. It would be interesting to consider what might have happened if Guyana had pursued this area for nomination - perhpas we would have had another Preah Vihear situation!!
In fact Guyana acceded to the WHS convention in 1977 whilst Venezuela was a "johnny come lately" in 1990 -just 4 years before it successfully gained inscription for Canaima. Guyana would have had no objections over that site's boundaries since they only reach its de facto frontier at Mt Roraima. The AB evaluation for Canaima made some mention of the potential for a Transnational nomination with Guyana but concluded briefly, without explanation, that "a proposal for a transfrontier protection of the massive does not seem feasible at this time". IUCN recommended deferral of Venezuela's nomination for a number of reasons but was overruled by the WHC which noted "The Committee was informed that, although there was no formal written response from the Venezuelan Park authorities with respect to the Bureau's recommendation, a senior staff member had verbally indicated that it would be difficult to consider revising the boundaries of this site." Well that was ok then!! That year's WHC included as members - Columbia, Brazil, Peru and Mexico. Sounds a bit like a "home town" Latin American decision! No wonder Guyana feels badly treated over Kaieteur!!

Another document relevant to the history of Guyana's faltering attmepts to gain a WHS is this "Country Environmental Profile" produced in 2005 by the EU
This is a far more fundamental assessment of Guyana's environmental problems than the rather superficial one of 1980 - or perhaps everyone is just far more realistic now!! The report isn't of course about gaining WHS status but, interestingly, it doesn't even mention that possibility. It is clear that Guyana has many fundamental issues of governance, poverty eradication etc etc to sort out before its natural sites could even begin to be considered as adequately protected. One interesting "omission" however is that the report doesn't even consider/suggest that trying to get Bisophere reserve or WHS status could be a driver towards environmental protection. What perhaps surprises me is that I don't believe that Guyana is any worse than many other developing countries in these respects - yet many of them ARE managing to gain Natural or Mixed inscriptions.

I once heard Guyana's Prime Minister (President??) stating a proposal along the lines that other countries achieve a good living by producing goods and services using their natural resources. If the World wants Guyana to preserve its own natural resources for the benefit of the World then perhaps those other countries should regard Guyana as "producing" oxygen, biodiversity, recreational areas etc etc as "exports" and should pay Guyana for doing so rather than trying to make it adopt policies which limit its use of those resources in a traditional "consuming" way!! Perhaps he has a point - but it will of course not happen. So what choice does Guyana really have but to mine for gold and diamonds etc and build the highway to/from Brazil through these areas? And what real practical help did IUCN's pedantry regarding Kaieteur achieve towards stimulating Guyana to improve its preservation efforts?

Author Assif
#6 | Posted: 8 Jun 2013 02:25 
Guyana is now preparing a new nomination of Kaieteur as "Kaieteur Falls, Iwokrama Forest and Rupununi".

Author Solivagant
#7 | Posted: 8 Jun 2013 03:09 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Guyana is now preparing a new nomination of Kaieteur as "Kaieteur Falls, Iwokrama Forest and Rupununi".

Except that the activity is dated at Aug 2002 with "No feedback yet" so "IS NOW preparing" might be a bit optimistic!! My post above of Oct 2012 refers to this Aug 2002 event and gives some additional info about any potential Kaieteur nomination from later dates

An interesting paper - in reality very few sites receiving financial assistance fail completely along the way though it may well take a very long time with several attempts to get an inscription.

One site in the list which caught my eye might be of interest to those who follow the interaction of international politics and "World Heritage" -
ID 1392 Seaflower Marine Protected Area - Colombia. This is noted as being stalled because of "Problems derived from maritime jurisdiction." The Maritime Jurisdiction issue was supposedly resolved in Nov 2012 with a ruling from the International Court of Justice.This "favoured" Nicaragua and, as a result Colombia lost what it sees as a significant amount of maritime territory around its Caribbean islands. Colombia has accused the Chinese representative on the ICJ of "partiality" in reaching the conclusion because of China's recent conclusion of an agreement with Nicaragua for the construction of a new trans-isthmus canal. The area under dispute has potential impact as a possible site for oil exploration and also to enhance Nicaraguan control of sea lanes approaching any canal - "perhaps" (In the Colombian view) the decision was a part of China keeping Nicaragua "sweet" and assisiting its own geopolitical agenda. Here are a few links with the first showing a detailed map which includes the Seaflower Marine Area (surrounding the San Andres Archipelago) as a small area almost entirely surrounded by a "Nicaraguan sea" - obviously Colombia couldn't put in place maritime protection arangements of its own for a potential WHC when "ownership" of the area was unclear! /341394-3 o-the-biosphere-reserve-of-the-san-andres-islands.html

The "History" of how Colombia finished across the centuries up "owning" off shore islands which are closer to other central american states in the face of their contending claims (including from other Colonial countries like UK) might also be of interest

What are they doing all day in Paris anyway? Forum / What are they doing all day in Paris anyway? /
 Sites which shamefully disappeared from T-lists

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