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Aspiring to be on the T List!

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Author meltwaterfalls
#16 | Posted: 8 Aug 2008 12:14 
Quite by accident I just stumbled on this.

Auroraville in Southern India, it seems to be a experimental Universal town.

I have never encountered it before, there seems to be a big Golden Sphere at the centre of the town.

It does look like a very Idealised place.

I would like to note that the town already has a link to UNESCO
"Satprem Ma´ni a French Aurovilian architect, the director of the Auroville Earth Institute, is representative for India and South Asia to the " UNESCO Chair Earthen Architecture, Constructive Cultures and Sustainable Development".

Author Assif
#17 | Posted: 9 Aug 2008 16:57 
The Dead Sea was promoted for several times by local governers but never got included in the Israeli T list.

Author Solivagant
#18 | Posted: 21 Aug 2008 08:18 
Another UK potential "hopeful"?

The Dept of Culture seems to be taking a realistic approach without actually saying "don't bother". It is interesting that they are putting the pros and cons in economic rather than preservation terms. What then IS the prime reason for getting inscribed - National/local pride, preservation, tourist spend?

There is a lot in the press currently about Edinburgh
Do cities really want to face that sort of hassle (e.g. The UNESCO "inspection" in November!)? Some might say that western cities need that extra layer of protection and pressure which UNESCO inscription can give but that is to admit that our existing democratic processes are not strong enough to achieve the right result. I personally wouldn't trust UNESCO to take a balanced view on development v protection. Does anyone know of occasions when they have taken a view that development IS necessary to prevent places becoming unchanging museum pieces?

Author rowan
#19 | Posted: 26 Aug 2008 22:55 
Thanks for the reply Solivagant. I should point out the 'Laos' isn't considering listing Nam Et Phou Louey - I work for an NGO involved in managing the site. We're talking about trying to get it on the tentative list.

I also think there are merits in applying for listing as a Biosphere reserve. But people here are unfamiliar with this but very familiar with WH because Luang Prabang (the nearest town) is WH listed and it almost defines the place and has brought huge tourism and status. I think the managers of the NPA would like 'their' protected area to have the same cudos. But I also agree that WH listing risks being detrimental to places listed for natural values. Even in Luang Prabang it is no longer really the same place but a kind of living museum (zoo?) with the visitor swarming around the exhibits (monks in temples!). I think BR listing would be of more interest to conservationists and scientists which is really who we would most want attract (status seeking aside).

Author Solivagant
#20 | Posted: 27 Aug 2008 06:08 
Perhaps the "best strategy" would be to get the Laotian government to put it on their T List (which of course doesn't require any UNESCO/IUCN involvement) and also to accept that they needed BR listing first to enhance their chances of inscription! That way you would get the raised interest/profile AND the required management/protection regime. Given the rate at which new sites are being added per annum it would be many years (and my guess might be - if ever!!) before it could get WHS status.
Quite a lot of countries and their local communities are quite happy to gain kudos just from a site being on the T List. Majuli in india has for several years "traded" in tourist literature on being a WHS site when in fact it is only a T List site and has been de/referred twice by ICOMOS!

Author Xeres
#21 | Posted: 28 Aug 2008 10:56 
Pugwash, Nova Scotia's "thinkers lodge" wants to be a WHS according to this

Author m_m
#22 | Posted: 27 Sep 2008 03:17 

Author Solivagant
#23 | Posted: 18 Oct 2008 09:20 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Another one for the UK "Aspiring list"!
Arbroath Abbey .jp.

But the campaign Website referred to in this "News piece" isn't working today at least. It was apparently designed by the students of Abertay University in Dundee (I will pass no comment on this).

My earlier comments about whether these "aspiring sites" fully realise what they are getting into and are serious about seeing it through to the end apply here. I particularly liked this comment :- "The campaigners fully believe that the Abbey fulfils all the strict criteria set down by the United Nations. People signing the petition will send a strong message to the UN that they support the campaign and believe that they should recognise the significance of the Declaration of Arbroath.
I hope the UN is listening!! Cynics may doubt whether location of the Declaration is really of "universal value" but those who are not aware of the circumstances surrounding the issuing of the document and its possible impact on such concepts as Popular Sovereignty (the first time in European history that Power and Rights were declared by the People??) and later documents such as the American Declaration of Independence might be interested in investigating it and making up their own minds!!

Author elsslots
#24 | Posted: 22 Oct 2008 15:11 
And here are two more hopefuls, coming from Rajasthan (India):

Stepwells and Hill Forts of Rajasthan

Author david
#25 | Posted: 23 Oct 2008 05:21 | Edited by: david 
I am aware of some Italian candidatures of sites which are not already inscribed on the TL:
- A sort of industrial cultural landscape in Sesto San Giovanni near Milan URL
- The cultural landscape of Mount Etna
And some Czech:
- The Czech part of the Ore Mountains for a transboundary cultural nomination with the German part
- A transboundary natural candidature of the Bohemian Switzerland and Saxon Switzerland

Author elsslots
#26 | Posted: 1 Nov 2008 13:18 

Author Solivagant
#27 | Posted: 1 Nov 2008 16:31 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Following our earlier discussion about the merits (or otherwise) of Blackpool as a potential WHS this newspiece about Benidorm's merits has caused some mirth in the British newspapers. ltural-wonders-of-the-world-976708.html

The suggestion did come from a French Professor of Geography at Angers (remember - the city which suggests that it is part of the Loire Valley site because some of its southern suburbs reach the inscirbed area!). The mayor of Benidorm didn't demur - but I still favour Balckpool as a representative of a Working Class holiday destination. Nevertheless it is interesting to consider whether the passage of time could ever make of Benidorm a true and valuable (in a "Universal" way!) representative of its era and cultural milieu?

Author elsslots
#28 | Posted: 18 Nov 2008 12:21 
What about this New Zealand story:

I cannot find a reference for it on the Tentative List, but it looks like a serious bid.

Author meltwaterfalls
#29 | Posted: 19 Nov 2008 12:24 
It seems an odd one that they are so confident on it being inscribed next year. But it is not on the T list.
Maybe it will be the start of another UNESCO list (a Starlight reserve) and the Journalist is a little confused on the World Heritage Site Moniker.
Many times I have read that the Carnival of Binche is a World Heritage site when it is actually part of the intangible heritage list.

interesting concept none the less.

Author Solivagant
#30 | Posted: 19 Nov 2008 16:42 | Edited by: Solivagant 
I think the January meeting in Paris referred to in the NZ press report is the "Opening Ceremony" for the International Year of Astronomy (IYA) - 2009 because it is 400th anniversary of Galileo's telescope. This Web site is all about it

To see the link from the IYA to UNESCO and WHS you should follow down to press releases where you will see that, as recently as Oct 30 UNESCO signed an agreement with the International astronomical Union (IAU) in which "The IAU will be integrally involved in the process of developing UNESCO's Astronomy and World Heritage Initiative, helping to promote astronomical sites of "Outstanding Universal Value".
"Adopting the successful strategy previously applied to architectural and natural sites, the new UNESCO Astronomy and World Heritage initiative will officially recognise, promote and preserve astronomical sites that are of outstanding significance to humankind"

The trouble is that "until now, there have been few precedents and no guidelines for nominations relating principally to astronomy. Identifying and defining criteria that demonstrate "Outstanding Universal Value" in relation to astronomy is not a straightforward task. They must encompass a wide range of sites, from prehistoric monuments to modern observatories. Helping to establish such criteria is the IAU Working Group's top priority. As Ruggles says, "without such guidelines member states of UNESCO will have little motivation to put forward astronomical sites for the World Heritage List, since they will have very little idea of their chances of success. The agreement between UNESCO and the IAU is designed to set the wheels in motion. As a result, astronomical heritage will become much better represented in the World Heritage List."

It might be that a site could be "fast tracked" during 2009 for the IYA but it does seem a bit late to do so - and the NZ story is talking of a "Pilot study". More likely that the guidelines will be developed and agreed by a WHC (but as quickly as this summer - that isn't the sort of speed at which UNESCO works is it ????) before NZ might get its chance!! But of course there are plenty of other potential "astronomical sites" which don't involve quite such a radical re-interpetation of the guidelines. The UNESCO site page about the initiative
states "This Initiative provides us with an opportunity to identify properties related to astronomy located around the world, to preserve their memory and save them from progressive deterioration."
So any potential Astronomy related WHS arising from the Initiative doesn't HAVE to be about "clear skies". It does so happen however that one of the IAU's major themes is about Dark Skies and a "Cornerstone project" for the IYA is "Dark Skies awareness".

This Powerpoint shows the history of the IYA initiative and includes an interesting statement
"According to the WHC the Sky cannot be nominated on the WH list or protected under this Convention. Only Natural or cultural properties located on the territory of states parties could be proposed for nomination". It then goes on to put forward the argument for Tekapo
This shows that they would be thinking of inscribing "it" (i.e. the land and thus the sky above it!!) as a natural site rather than as a new list or category - though whether IUCN gets pushed aside in favour of IAU for this sort of nomination (or ICOMOS if the astronomy-related site is more "monumental") isn't clear.

I can't say I am very sympathetic to the idea of a "clear skies WHS" but "Watch this space"!

PS this intiative is also connected to the "failure" of Darwin at Downe" to get accepted in 2007 (When an awkward ICOMOS offical said "Non!" and thus thwarted the UK Government's hopes to celebrate another centennial!) and the meeting to which I have referred to in other posts
about reinterpreting the criteria and guidelines to make it easier for scientific sites to get accepted

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