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Merged/Split World Heritage Sites

Author KSTraveler
#1 | Posted: 6 Jun 2013 12:59 
In response to the post by Clyde, I was interested by his advice and wondered if UNESCO has ever merged or split World Heritage Sites.

I went investigating and discovered that the Jesuit Missions, Koguryo, and Sundarbans doubly inscribed contiguous sites were recommended to be combined by UNESCO; however, this never occurred. I also looked within the connections for any detail of merged or split sites, but was unable to find any documentation.

I am relatively new to following the World Heritage Programme and I do not personally remember and merged or split sites. If anyone knows of any, can you post the affected sites? Also, if there are a couple sites that have been merged or split, should we start a connection?

Author Solivagant
#2 | Posted: 6 Jun 2013 13:26 | Edited by: Solivagant 
I do not personally remember and merged or split sites.

In 1986 New Zealand inscribed separately
a. Westland and Mt Cook NP
b. Fjordland NP

In 1990 these were merged into a single inscription titled "South West NZ WH area (Te Wahipounamu)" and later with the Maori name being given precedence (in line with the general NZ policy of "Maorification" of place names). The AB eval of 1990 commented - "The new site adds 1.2 million ha. of the intervening land thus joining the two sites and almost doubling the size of the area put on the list in 1986. A major portion of this addition is the Mt. Aspiring National Park (356,000 ha.) with various other categories of reserves making up the remainder (except for 20 ha. of private land)."

As well as adding extra areas the following reason was also given for the merger "With the formation of the Department of Conservation in 1987 the opportunity was provided for the coordinated management of all the natural Crown lands in the area, and the nomination of one fully-representative World Heritage site."

the Jesuit Missions, Koguryo, and Sundarbans doubly inscribed contiguous sites were recommended to be combined by UNESCO .

Another pair of sites which ICOMOS wanted to see combined were the 2 Routes of Santiago de Compostela. In the eval for the second - ie. the French one, ICOMOS notes (surprisingly diffidently as it didn't pursue the matter!) that it had previously suggested at the time of the Spanish nomination
""ICOMOS suggests therefore that consideration be given by the relevant States Parties to the possibility of an eventual extension of the property to other lengths of the Route outside Spain." The wishes are States Parties in such matters are, of course, sovereign, and it is not within the remit of ICOMOS to propose any kind of joint inscription as a condition of inscription. It hopes, however, that the two States Parties concerned (France and Spain) will give serious consideration to combining their respective stretches of the Route in a single inscription"
But France had its logic for keeping the 2 sites separate from each other all tied up "The reasons for this lie in the different historical and economic trajectories that have been followed by France and Spain since the end of the Middle Ages and the decline of pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela" !!

We already have a connection for "Contiguous sites inscribed twice" - whether "separate sites recommended for merging" is different enough I will leave to Els! Not all contiguous sites are given that recommendation and not all sites which are given it are contiguous - so it might "fly"!

Another example of France following a different approach in order to keep a nomination separate was that for the Mining area of Nord-Pas de Calais which uses different arguments for inscription from that of Belgium's next door site of Mining sites of Wallonia - even to the extent of getting an extra criterion accepted!! ICOMOS didn't even bother to suggest a merged nomination! Such examples show just how difficult it can be to get countries to pursue joint sites unless they see a very good reason for doing so.

Author Durian
#3 | Posted: 7 Jun 2013 00:00 
France is the country that give us bad examples and a good example on this matter, while Solivagent used Route of Santiago and Nord Pas de Calais to show how it could happen to inscribe separate sites, France also give a good example of merging like New Zealand did, and it is Chambord and Loire Valley case, Chambord was incribed since 1981 but when France wanted to inscibe the whole Loire Valley they decided to merge Chambord with Loire Valley with nothing of double entry.

Another example that ICOMOS/UNESCO encouraged to merge sites under single management plan is Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri, but seem to be ignored by India completely.

Author Solivagant
#4 | Posted: 7 Jun 2013 03:02 | Edited by: Solivagant 
but when France wanted to inscibe the whole Loire Valley they decided to merge Chambord with Loire Valley with nothing of double entry.

When I first read this my reaction was that it was hardly an example of a "merger" but more of what should have been a simple extension! UK would hardly expect to be "praised" for adding the Anonine Wall to Hadrian's Wall as an extension rather than nominating it as a separate site!
However, I have just re-read the ICOMOS evaluation for Loire Valley, and it appears that in 1999 France first nominated the Loire valley as a site completely separate from and on the basis of different criteria, compared with that of the already inscribed Chambord - so there would indeed have been 2 inscribed sites. This nomination got deferred because of the argument regarding whether the Nuclear Power station should be included or not as part of a "continuing CL". In 2000 France re-nominated - still including the nuclear power station but, this time, with a reasoned argument as to why it should be included. ICOMOS supported this view. At a closed session of the 2000 Bureau (which commenced 26 Jun), France and ICOMOS were told to go away and "re-think". A revised nomination was received by ICOMOS in September 2000 (for a WHC starting 27 Nov!!). In this revised nomination "The boundary of the nominated area has been modified so as to exclude the nuclear power station. It has also been extended to the south, so as to include the World Heritage site of the Château and Estate of Chambord, inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1981"

So, this inclusion of Chambord in a revised nomination was made incredibly late! Indeed Loire Valley was nominated ONLY on Criteria ii and v (even when Chambord had been added). Almost as an afterthought, ICOMOS commented that the WHC "may wish" to inscribe on the basis of Criterion i also since Chambord had originally been inscribed on that basis and suggested the following wording -
"Criterion i. The Loire Valley is noteworthy for the quality of its architectural heritage, in its historic towns such as Blois, Chinon, Orléans, Saumur, and Tours, but in particular in its world-famous castles, such as the Château de Chambord"

So the Loire valley also got given criterion i for the towns of Blois etc, even though it wasn't nominated or even evaluated for this, and also for its "world famous castles SUCH AS ..." Chambord. What does this use of the phrase "Such as" mean? If the other castles were included BEFORE Chambord got added then why hadn't they justified Criterion i??

In fact I can find no documentation describing the original nomination other than the AB evaluation which isn't explicit on the original boundaries. Similarly the Bureau discussions aren't accessible. The Loire Valley Nomination file, as finally inscribed, still places all the emphasis on the "Cultural Landscape" values of the Loire valley and the Chateaux hardly get a mention! Even Chambord is described primarily for its "domaine" - as would be natural for a nomination which was primarily concerned with the "landscape" aspects.

The nomination file describes how (but not when) the nominated boundaries (particularly those "beyond" the main Loire Valley) were arrived at as follows -
"A l'inverse, la ou la valeur de certains sites, localises, en impose l'integration, on etendra le perimeter autant que de besoin. L'exemple-type du premier cas de figure est donne par le domaine de Chambord, dont le chateau est a six kilometres a vol d'oiseau de la Loire mais don't les paysages en sont indissociables. Les examples du second cas de figure sont ceux des sites de Chinon, d Fontevraud, d'Azay-le-Rideau et de Chenonceau. S'agissant des vallees affluentes qui conduisent a ces sites on leur appliquera le principe de la delimitation de rebord de coteau a rebord de coteau"

So, why did France decide so very late to include Chambord within the new "Loire" nomination? The publicly available record of the pressures it was coming under to change its original nomination make no mention at all of any concern that there would be 2 separate inscriptions for Loire Valley AND Chambord. Does anyone know? Was it "pure altruism" e.g to reduce the number of European sites? Was it to "add weight" to a problematical nomination? Was it in response to logical argument? If so from whom and why so late?

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