A few more "titbits" about the events in Seville surrounding the delisting of Dresden have appeared on the Web.
a. The Mayor(ess) of Dresden was given "1 minute" (!!!) to make a statement to the Committee! Here is her "pitch" – nothing new there then! (There were some ribald blog comments about what she was doing for the rest of the 3 days she spent there!) http://www.neue-waldschloesschenbruecke.de/aktuelles/Rede-der-Oberbuergermeisterin-He lma-Orosz.htm
b. It appears that there was an initial vote on whether the decision should be postponed until such time as an assessment on the REAL impact on OUV could be made with the bridge in place. This was rejected by 13-8. But that does mean that there were 8 State Parties prepared at least to avoid an immediate de-listing. A later similar 13-8 vote in favour of immediate delisting would NOT of course have met the requirement that 2/3rds of voting states would have to be in favour if it were to be passed – so at least 2 of those 8 had to be persuaded to change direction and go along with UNESCO/ICOMOS and vote for delisting and/or abstain in order to reduce the number required for a 2/3rd majority
c. From this Dresden report, the debate appears to have been quite lengthy with various attempts by some of the WHC members to find a compromise and avoid illogicality - but it could of course be said that "they would say that wouldn't they" http://www.neue-waldschloesschenbruecke.de/aktuelles/UNESCO-haelt-Dresden-weiterhin-f uer-welterbewuerdig.htm
d. No indication has emerged that I can discover of how countries voted and which ones "changed their minds" – other than that Kenya was speaking in favour of delisting. However, as we know, 1 of the original 8 previously voting in favour of postponement must have voted for delisting whilst 2 decided to abstain. It would particularly be interesting to know to what extent the 7 African countries voted "en bloc" and which were the 5 countries which stood out against UNESCO. Does anyone know what chances there are of this ever emerging? The whole issue of a "secret vote" on such matters seems highly suspicious (We don't have UN or Security Council votes taken on such a basis!) – does anyone know whether such a procedure is normal for all WHC votes or whether it can be decided by the WHC or the Chair that certain votes will be taken in this way? We did for instance find out what the voting was in the case of the Oryx Sanctuary – but was this from "insider" or "public" information?
e. The "wait and see what it actually looks like" approach would seem to have been reasonable given the debate about what the impact of the bridge would really have on the OUV but, having massed its troops via the letter sent to all WHC members (and by whatever other "incentives" might have been offered?), UNESCO obviously couldn't risk losing the momentum. The issue wasn't really any more about "Dresden" but about UNESCO credibility and upcoming issues. There are at least 4 current "causes celebres" about developments within European WHS – Middle Rhine, Seville, St Petersburg and Bordeaux which seem likely to run and run in the coming year(s)!). It will be interesting to see whether UNESCO's pressing of the "nuclear button" on Dresden will have the effect of cowing the other sites or whether it will cause UNESCO to take a less dogmatic stance about development. Seville has been told to stop building the Pelli Tower - but the foundations are being built as it speaks!
f. Given what was in effect a "back me or sack me" approach from UNESCO it was perhaps hardly surprising that 3 of the State Parties eventually cracked (but only 1 to actually change sides completely as 2 moved to abstention. Hardly a "ringing endorsement" of UNESCO's approach!) – if only to enable the meeting to progress with other matters!! But it also appears that they forced out the somewhat amazing compromise (presumably in order to obtain the necessary 2/3rds majority) that, despite everything, Dresden per se might indeed STILL possess OUV and could reapply later (Even though back in 1989 the whole issue of Dresden's reconstruction was regarded as preventing the city itself and alone being regarded as having OUV)!! The Dresden mayor is indeed still talking of doing so though surely it won't happen. As she says "A new application is only acceptable if supported by the vast majority of citizens"
g. I wasn't previously aware of the Dresden argument that UNESCO/ICOMOS was perfectly well aware when it inscribed Dresden that the bridge was planned and that this was mentioned in the nomination papers. At this point, in the blogs I have seen, the argument gets very muddied with accusations of incompetence on the part of UNESCO/ICOMOS and/or the German Government and of "mistranslations" of relevant papers. Also, people discussing the matter, seem unable to disassociate their views about the merits of the "bridge" from the merits of continued inscription so anyone against the bridge is also against continued inscription and vice versa which makes rational discussion about the history of the affair, the meaning of "OUV", the power politics of UNESCO etc somewhat difficult! Does anyone know any more about this? We already know that the whole issue of whether only a tunnel would do or whether a different (better??) bridge would have sufficed is not clear and that Bandarin has apparently said different things on this matter even quite recently. Can anyone get the "nomination file" to download? Dresden is still on the UNESCO Web site, albeit identified with the "Mark of Cain"! I can get the AB review to download but NOT the original 24.6 mB nomination file in order to check what was actually said ( http://whc.unesco.org/p_dynamic/sites/passfile.cfm?filename=1156&filetype=pdf&categor y=nominations
) – but perhaps I am just over-suspicious!