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UNESCO World Heritage Centre - World Heritage Information

World Heritage Information
July 2012

cover 62

26 new sites inscribed
on World Heritage List

The World Heritage Committee closed its 36th session on 6 July after almost two weeks of work under the chair of Eleonora Mitrofanova, the Ambassador of Russia to UNESCO.

The Committee added 26 new sites to UNESCO’s World Heritage List during the session. It marked the 40th anniversary of the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage.

The new properties include five natural, twenty cultural and one mixed – i.e. natural and cultural site. UNESCO’s World Heritage List now numbers a total of 962 properties. The number of countries with sites on the List grew to 157, with the inscription of sites in Chad, Congo, Palau and Palestine.

Two conservation success stories were recognized by the Committee. It removed the Fort and Shalamar Gardens in Lahore (Pakistan) and the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras (Philippines) from the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Meanwhile, the World Heritage Committee added five sites to the Danger List because of concern for their conservation: Timbuktu and the Tomb of Askia (Mali), Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem (Palestine), Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Panama); and Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City (UK).

The 21 members of the Committee were particularly concerned for the fate of Timbuktu. During the session, armed groups stepped up their attacks on the World Heritage site and destroyed sacred tombs. The Committee adopted a decision condemning the destruction and outlining measures to be taken for Timbuktu when conservation becomes possible.

The next session of the Committee will take place in Phnom Penh (Cambodia) from 17 to 27 of June 2013 under the chair of Cambodia’s Deputy Prime Minister Sok An.

For more information about the Committee session:


Emergency appeal for Okapi Wildlife Reserve (DRC) following murderous raid by poachers

UNESCO and the nongovernmental organization Fauna and Flora International are launching an emergency appeal to support the staff and rebuild the headquarters of the Okapi Wildlife Reserve in Epulu, a small village in the northwest of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. On 24 June, poachers armed with AK47 rifles attacked the facility and killed seven people, including two rangers. The appeal hopes to raise $120,000 by 20 July to help the families of the victims and repair the Reserve’s headquarters.

Led by the notorious elephant poacher known as Morgan, the attackers torched buildings and destroyed equipment. Unless the facility can be restored very soon, these poachers will have met their objective; to move freely about the reserve in their search for elephant tusks.

“Unless we can reverse this situation quickly, this will be a real setback for the conservation in Okapi Wildlife Reserve, home to the largest remaining population of forest elephants in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We can’t let those poachers kill rangers and hunt wildlife with impunity,” urged Guy Debonnet, of UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre.

The Reserve is a World Heritage site. Funds from the campaign will be used to protect its elephants, whose population has been declining rapidly because of the ivory poaching. They will also help to re-establish the Reserve’s successful okapi breeding programme, which has played a critical role in preserving the gene pool of this rare forest giraffe. 14 okapi were killed in the raid. Buildings will be rebuilt and equipment repaired or replaced. Perhaps most importantly, the families of those who were killed will be supported.

In a meeting with UNESCO during the recent session of the World Heritage Committee in Saint Petersburg, the Director General of the Congolese Institute of Nature Conservation (ICCN), Cosma Wilungula, expressed grave concern over the situation in Okapi and called on UNESCO to help resume the conservation activities that were halted by the attack.

The appeal for funds is conducted as part of the Rapid Response Facility created by UNESCO and Fauna and Flora International to raise financial assistance for conservation emergencies.

Donate Now
Help us urgently restore conservation operations
at the Okapi Wildlife Reserve


World Heritage Review n°63 - World Heritage and outstanding natural beauty

The sites inscribed under criterion vii, known commonly as having the “wow” effect, are more than just stunning landscapes, and we take a close look at their unique qualities and conservation challenges.
See the e-version of the issue.

To subscribe, write to: subscriptions@dl-servi.com


The World Heritage Game: discover the world's heritage

From July 1st to December 24th 2012, the second edition of the World Heritage Game will be online at www.worldheritagegame.com. For six months, players can discover the whereabouts of the six letters of UNESCO photographed at different World Heritage sites. Many prizes can be won, including a discovery tour to one of these sites.

Simple and unique gameplay
The game features 12 complete missions. Each mission involves choosing where the six letters of UNESCO were photographed, from a possible choice of six World Heritage sites. These photos, along with other images and clues, are published online at www.worldheritagegame.com. Further clues will be published between 14 July and 31 August in the Le Monde newspaper and on its Internet site www.lemonde.fr. Inscription in the game is free for any person over 18 years old with an Internet connection.
The communications agency Chez Bonne Idée produced the first edition of the game in 2011. In 2012 and on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention, Chez Bonne Idée is an official partner of UNESCO. The French national newspaper Le Monde and its Internet site are publishing the game during the summer for the second consecutive year.

Six letters for World Heritage: photo competition
In order to augment its library of photographed letters, and to promote the game to a wider public, Chez Bonne Idée has launched a photo competition. This competition is aimed at all those who live near, or are visiting, a site inscribed on the World Heritage list. Participation involves finding and photographing the letters UNESCO at this site and then uploading them to www.worldheritagegame.com/photos; the best photos will be published on the website, and then at an exhibition in the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.

Register your site now for the 2013 edition of the World Heritage Game
if you would like your site to participate in the 2013 edition, you can register now at the following address www.worldheritagegame.com/2013edition