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Tanzania commended during World Heritage Committee meeting | Coastweek

ISTANBUL Turkey (Xinhua) -- The 40th World Heritage Committee Session in Istanbul, Turkey. The World Heritage Committee, at its 40th session in Istanbul, on Thursday recommended strong measures seeking to eliminate or mitigate the risk factors that have been threatening the heritage sites around the world. XINHUA PHOTO - HE CANLING

Tanzania commended during World Heritage Committee meeting

ARUSHA, Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzania got a standing ovation during the 40th World Heritage Committee meeting in Istanbul, Turkey due to the country’s well-preserved World Heritage site and the fact that even the latest UNESCO’s declaration was announced from here.

Tanzania took part at the global meeting for the first time as the member of the World Heritage Committee, representing Africa together with Angola, Zimbabwe, and Burkina Faso.

At the Turkey held WHC meeting, according to Major General, Gaudence Milanzi, Tanzania’s Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism.

The ten-day occasion which kicked off on July 10, this year, went in line with the side event to commemorate 10 years of the African World Heritage Fund (AWHF).

Tanzania has seven world heritage sites, including Selous Game Reserve, Serengeti National Park, Kilimanjaro National Park and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

The country was also represented by Ambassador Taj Begum from the Embassy of Tanzania in France, Director of Antiquities, Donatius Kamamba and Conservator of Ngorongoro, Dr. Freddy Manongi.

In his statement, which was made available here on Thursday, the Tanzanian official reminded members of the World Heritage Committee meeting that the Ngorongoro Declaration on Safeguarding African World Heritage as a Driver of Sustainable Development was officially adopted at the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, last June.

Owing to its outstanding universal natural and cultural heritage value, Major General Milanzi informed the delegates that Ngorongoro was the first Tanzanian site to be inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1979 and as mixed property in 2010.

He informed the delegates that, internationally, the Ngorongoro is also recognized as a part of the Serengeti-Ngorongoro Biosphere Reserve under knitted Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s Man and the Biosphere Program since 1981 and it is an aspiring Geo-park.

Major General Milanzi informed the delegates that the Ngorongoro Declaration, different from other common Declarations, is characterized by its attempts to describe the concept of sustainable development in the contents and contexts of development challenges facing African states, drawing its mandates from the vast experiences of the continent in conservation and management of natural resources.

"The declaration addresses, in broader terms, the issues of capacity in the management of the heritage sites; it promotes social cohesion within and outside their borders using heritage values and promotes gender equity; it recognizes that social capital (partnership and networking) important for conservation and management of the sites; it reiterates the role of the local communities in the conservation and management and their dependence on World Heritage Committee," the Permanent Secretary told the delegates.

The Ngorongoro Declaration of 2016 also recognizes the massive direct and opportunity costs affecting the rural population for the protection of the sites, and a need to effectively and efficiently mitigate these costs.

"But in order to ensure that the Ngorongoro Declaration is implemented and tangible benefits are gained from the sites as well as ensuring balanced approach in heritage conservation and sustainable development, we need action plans that are consistent with the Declaration; undertaking of strategic environmental appraisal of the plans; and monitoring and evaluation of the development plans."

Major Generally Milanzi emphasized that Tanzania understands that every development action has an impact and that there is no impact free development.

He re-iterated that every decision about the heritage sites, including ‘no go decision’ or ‘no action decision’ promoted by developed nations, had impacts on our natural and cultural heritages.

He was on view that science and technology have advanced so much over the decade, and therefore, with appropriate science and technology, African states can optimize conservation and use of the world heritage sites with minimum possible adverse effects and without compromising the values of these sites, and in essence, this is sustainable development.

The World Heritage Committee comprises representatives from 21 States Parties to the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage elected by the General Assembly of States Parties to the Convention.


World heritage session seeks to eliminate risk factors threatening heritage

ISTANBUL Turkey (Xinhua) -- The World Heritage Committee, at its 40th session in Istanbul, on Thursday recommended strong measures seeking to eliminate or mitigate the risk factors that have been threatening the heritage sites around the world.

"We must stop the destruction," said Manuel Rodriquez Cuadros, the ambassador of Peru to the UN cultural agency UNESCO.

"For this, we have given specific and very important recommendations to the state parties for the preservation of the world heritage in accordance with their outstanding universal values," he told Xinhua.

He said one of the key recommendations by the committee is eliminating totally or mitigating the risk factors that have been producing the damages.

The envoy cited as an example the unplanned urbanization and construction of high-rise buildings in the historical center of Kiev, the capital city of Ukraine, moves that had damaged "the outstanding universal value of the site."

But things started to turn better when the authorities in Ukraine and the Kiev municipality, in line with the World Heritage Convention, decided to demolish and suspend the construction of buildings that were damaging the tissue of the site, said a report released at the meeting.

"We have also recommended the state parties to stick to the authenticity of the sites," said Cuadros.

In his view, all the reconstruction and repair works on the damaged sites should be conducted by using the original elements in order to preserve their authenticity.

According to a report, strong earthquakes in 2015 badly affected the "attributes, authenticity, integrity and management" of the heritage sites in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal, placing their outstanding universal value at risk.

"Now it is vital that the damaged monuments or structures in the valley be replaced by new elements, which would be identical to the original ones, in line with their authenticity," said Cuadros.

The World Heritage Committee, during its two-day meeting on Wednesday and Thursday, completed the examination of the state of conservation of 108 sites inscribed on the prestigious World Heritage List.

As of now, the list has 1,031 sites in more than 160 countries.

The advisory bodies urged the committee to adopt protective measures for the sites, stressing that many threats have resulted from both natural causes and human interventions.

The committee has called for the state parties to "systematically" utilize the assessment tools in the review of state of conservation of properties in line with the World Heritage Convention.

"The committee has done quite a good job and discussed the details of the threats posed to world heritage sites," said Susanna Lindeman, the world heritage coordinator of Finland.

"We heard very encouraging speeches from delegations of different countries about how they would aid world heritage sites that are in trouble," she noted.

Meanwhile, the World Heritage Committee has added five sites in Libya, Mali’s Old Towns of Djenne and Uzbekistan’s Historic Centre of Shakhrisyabz to the List of World Heritage in Danger.

The sites in Libya—the archaeological sites of Sabratha, Cyrene and Leptis Magna, Rock-Art Sites of Tadrart Acacus and the Old Town of Ghadames—were included on the list because of damages already done and the threat of more to come in the conflict roiling the North African country, a press release said.

Mali’s Old Towns of Djenne, an ancient center of the trans-Saharan gold trade, was put on the list due to security issues and violence that has dominated the country since fighting erupted between insurgent groups and Malian government forces in 2012.

Uzbekistan’s Historic Centre of Shakhrisyabz was placed on the list in danger due to the overgrowth of tourism infrastructure in the site, according to a report.

Starting on Friday, the heritage committee, which kicked off its 40th session on Sunday, will begin a three-day review of the nominations of 27 new sites to the World Heritage List.

"We have to consider each site within the context of their own specific cultural or natural values," Ambassador Cuadros said. "I think we will have technical evaluation of each nominee rather than have a political one."

Some 2,500 people from around the world are participating in the 11-day annual session of the heritage committee, which was formed in 1977 to enforce the World Heritage Convention and manage the heritage list created based on the convention.


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