(CTN NEWS) – The UNESCO World Heritage Committee has concluded its discussions regarding sites facing endangerment and has initiated the addition of new sites to its esteemed World Heritage List.
Earlier this week, concerns were raised about the status of several sites in Ukraine, including the St. Sophia Cathedral and the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra monastery complex, both situated in the capital city of Kyiv, as well as the historic center of Lviv in western Ukraine.
The deliberations commenced on Saturday, encompassing the evaluation of 50 nominated sites vying for inclusion on the renowned World Heritage List.
During the inaugural day of discussions, two sites garnered recognition and were officially inscribed into the World Heritage List: the Forest Massif of Odzala-Kokoua in Congo and the volcanic landscapes and forests of Mount Pelée and the Pitons on the French island of Martinique.
World Heritage in Danger List
The World Heritage Sites at Risk List comprises invaluable heritage sites facing various threats, including armed conflicts, natural calamities, pollution, and other perils.
Among the sites added to this precarious list are the St. Sophia Cathedral and its associated monastic structures, which date back to the 11th century and are adorned with captivating mosaics and frescoes.
Alongside them is the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, also known as the Monastery of the Caves, situated nearby.
Additionally, the historic center of Lviv, situated in close proximity to the Polish border and characterized by its fifth-century castle, synagogue, and an array of religious edifices, has been included in this register of threatened heritage.
UNESCO’s decision to take this action is attributed to the imminent risk posed by the Russian offensive, with both sites having endured a persistent threat since the commencement of the invasion.
These sites face not only the direct risk of attack but also the collateral damage caused by the bombing of the two cities, as emphasized in UNESCO’s statement.
The incorporation of these sites onto the list opens avenues for additional financial and technical support, enabling the implementation of urgent measures. These measures align with those already undertaken by Ukraine in collaboration with UNESCO.
It’s noteworthy that the decision to include the Ukrainian sites on this list followed the committee’s choice to refrain from adding the Italian city of Venice and its lagoon to the same category.
World Heritage List Updates
During the deliberations transitioning to potential additions to the World Heritage List, several notable sites were acknowledged:
- The Forest Massif of Odzala-Kokoua in the Congo was officially inscribed on Saturday. This site stands as one of Africa’s oldest parks and ranks among the world’s largest tropical rainforests.
- On the picturesque French island of Martinique, the inclusion of the volcanoes and forests of Mount Pelée and the Pitons in the northern part of the island was announced as a noteworthy addition during the initial day of discussions.
- Meanwhile, an existing World Heritage Site, Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay, received an expansion to encompass the Cat Ba Archipelago, Vietnam’s largest limestone archipelago. These two areas are now collectively recognized as “Ha Long Bay – Cat Ba Archipelago,” with Ha Long Bay initially earning its distinction in 1994.
- The status of Madagascar’s Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, which includes five protected areas, was extended to incorporate the unique Andrefana Dry Forests, a feature exclusive to this Indian Ocean island.
In the upcoming days, the committee will scrutinize the remaining nominations, encompassing a Viking age ring fortress in Denmark and 2,000-year-old earthworks in Ohio.
To be considered for inclusion on the World Heritage List, sites must demonstrate “outstanding universal value” in accordance with UNESCO’s criteria, which are regularly revised by the committee to stay aligned with the evolving landscape of World Heritage.
RELATED CTN NEWS: