Cambodia’s celebrated temples and palaces at Angkor were removed from UNESCO's List of World Heritage in Danger today, as were the Bahla Fort (Oman) and Rwenzori Mountains National Park (Uganda).
As it reviewed the state of conservation of World Heritage sites whose outstanding universal value is severely threatened, the 21-member World Heritage Committee meeting in Suzhou until July 7 welcomed substantial progress in the three sites, considered sufficient to warrant their removal from the Danger List. At the end of today’s update, UNESCO’s World Heritage in Danger List numbers 32 properties. This represents less than five percent of the 788 properties inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
Angkor, listed on both World Heritage List and on the World Heritage in Danger List in 1992 was removed from the latter. The Committee noted that the preservation of the site from destruction was reasonably secure and that the restoration activities coordinated by UNESCO since 1993 could be considered a “success story”. Illicit excavation, pillaging and landmines were the main threats that led to the inscription of the remarkable complex, which contains the remains of successive Khmer capitals built from the 9th to 15th centuries, on the Danger List.
The immense earthen Fort of Bahla, was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1987, and put on the Danger List in 1988, mainly because of development plans that endangered the integrity of the site. Improved management and Oman’s decision to desist from using modern materials and construction techniques near the site led to its removal from the Danger List.
Uganda’s Rwenzori Mountains National Park - one of Africa's most beautiful alpine areas, home to endangered animal species and to a rich and unusual flora - was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1994. Lack of resources and insecurity in the Park, led to the inscription of this natural site on the Danger List in 1999. The Committee was satisfied that the authorities have regained control over the Park, that security has been restored and proper management has been re-established.
The Chairperson of the 28th session of the World Heritage Committee - Zhang Xinsheng, Vice Minister of Education of China and Chairperson of China’s National Commission for UNESCO - led the debate during the early part of the day. He was then replaced by the Vice Chairperson, Omotoso Eluyemi, Director-General of Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments.