UNESCO inscribes 34 new properties on World Heritage List during extended 44th session of the World Heritage Committee

2021-08-01 15:20:08

FUZHOU, July 31 (Xinhua) – The extended 44th session of the World Heritage Committee concluded in Fuzhou on the evening of July 31. As an extended meeting, the session was the first online gathering organized by UNESCO to discuss topics on World Heritage. The session inscribed 34 new sites on the World Heritage List, and approved the major extension of three sites on the list. 

The Fuzhou Declaration was adopted during the session, reiterating the principle of the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage and the importance of promoting international cooperation in World Heritage protection. In response to the great concern of the impact of climate change on the sustainable development of World Heritage sites, the Declaration stresses that promoting the conservation of World Heritage is the shared responsibility for humanity and calls for scaling up support to developing countries, especially to African countries and small island developing states, with the aim to maintain an open, inclusive, adaptive, sustainable, resilient, clean and beautiful world for future generations. 

The session discussed 36 applications for World Heritage status, of which 34 were added to the World Heritage List. Among the newly added sites is “Quanzhou: Emporium of the World in Song-Yuan China,” which brings the number of World Heritage Sites in the country to 56. The Chongqing Wulipo National Nature Reserve officially became a part of the Hubei Shennongjia World Heritage Site after a minor modification to Shennongjia’s boundaries during the session. In addition, it approved the major extension of three items already inscribed on the World Heritage List. 

“We are glad to see that two African sites were inscribed on the World Heritage List, embodying the implementation of UNESCO’s Global Priority Africa resolution,” said His Excellency Mr. Tian Xuejun, Vice Minister of Education, Chairperson of the National Commission of the People's Republic of China for UNESCO, and Chairperson of the extended 44th session of World Heritage Committee. “Although we can only meet online, we can still share the joy of the States Parties that successfully applied for World Heritage status.” He noted that the numbers of newly added World Heritage sites in developed countries and developing ones are roughly equal, and the number of World Heritage sites jointly applied by several countries and serial sites saw an increase. 

The session also reviewed more than 200 reports on the state of conservation of World Heritage properties. The Great Wall in China and Comoé National Park (TNP) and Taï National Park (CNP) in Cote d’Ivoire were cited as demonstration cases of World Heritage protection and management. Salonga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger. The session decided to delete the property “Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City” (UK) from the World Heritage List, making it the first-ever site delisted in the past decade. 

The session also made significant progress in the reform of the World Heritage application. A pre-evaluation mechanism will be activated in September 2023 so that the session of the World Heritage Committee can strengthen communication with evaluation authorities in the early stage of application. 

“The cause of World Heritage conservation will embark on a new journey from Fuzhou,” Mr. Tian said. “I believe the consensus reached and the strength pooled in this ‘Land of Blessings’ will ensure our common lofty cause moves forward steadily.”