China plays an important role in supporting the protection of world heritage: Interview with Mrs. Mechtild Rössler, Director of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre
Xinhua News Agency, Paris, July 18 (Reported by Chen Chen, Liu Fang, Tang Ji) "China has made remarkable progress in protecting national and local heritage, with a large number of natural and cultural heritage inscribed to the World Heritage List," said Mrs. Mechtild Rössler, Director of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, on July 17, 2021, adding that China also plays an important role in helping countries and regions in need to protect World Heritage.
The exterior of the Fuzhou Strait Culture and Art Center, Fujian Province, venue for the opening ceremony of the extended 44th session of the World Heritage Committee, taken on July 16, 2021 (Photo by Song Weiwei from Xinhua News Agency)
Mrs. Mechtild Rössler, who was attending the extended 44th session of the World Heritage Committee in Fuzhou, received an exclusive video interview with Xinhua News Agency reporters on July 17, 2021. She said: "In 2004, I participated in the preparations for the session of the World Heritage Committee held in Suzhou, China. After many years, I have witnessed China's progress in protecting national and local heritage and participating in the improvement of World Heritage. Lots of natural and cultural heritage in China has been inscribed to the World Heritage List."
Mrs. Mechtild Rössler said that China has actively implemented the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, provided assistance to many countries and regions in need, and cooperated with UNESCO in capacity building for the protection of World Heritage.
She said: “Many of the properties in World Heritage List are under threat and the list is underrepresented. This requires us to strengthen global efforts in heritage protection and I think China can play an important role in this regard.”
China currently has 55 World Heritage Sites. "Quanzhou: Emporium of the World in Song-Yuan China" project submitted to this session for review is composed of 22 representative historic sites and their associated environment and spaces. In early June this year, the advisory body International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) recommended that the Quanzhou project be included in the World Heritage List "without reservation".
The exterior of the Hall of Supreme Harmony in the Imperial Palace. On July 25, 1991, UNESCO issued certificates to confirm that 5 historic sites including the Great Wall, the Imperial Palace, the Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian, the Mogao Caves, and the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor as World Heritage. (Issued by Xinhua News Agency)
Mrs. Mechtild Rössler said that if the World Heritage Committee deliberates and approves the application, it will mark the international recognition of the project and Quanzhou will attract more global attention. Therefore, it is very important to do a good job in the promotion and interpretation of the project, so that visitors can better understand the charm of this city.
She believed that Quanzhou can establish more connections with other cities across the world. According to her, UNESCO has a World Heritage Cities Programme, in which cities can exchange and learn about how to deal with heritage protection and urban development in the context of urbanization, and how to involve local communities and young people in heritage protection.
Mrs. Mechtild Rössler said that the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage calls on the international community to act together and exchange experience to better protect these heritage properties. The protection of World Heritage requires the joint efforts of mankind for the benefit of future generations.