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World Heritage Committee requests close surveillance of Bordeaux, Machu Picchu, Timbuktu and Samarkand

Thursday, 10 July 2008
access_time 2 min read

The World Heritage Committee has asked that “reinforced monitoring” be applied to four properties on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in addition to the seven for which the surveillance mechanism is already in place.

Under the new monitoring mechanism, established by the World Heritage Committee in 2007, regular missions can be dispatched to World Heritage sites subjected to particular stress. The purpose of the monitoring mechanism, which typically involves sending experts to examine developments in situ, is to keep the Committee informed of the situation on the ground on a regular basis and guide it in its actions.

The new sites for which reinforced monitoring has been requested are:

Bordeaux, Port of the Moon (France) on the World Heritage List since 2007. The Committee requested a report on the visual impact of plans for the construction of new river crossings in the city, and regretted the destruction in late 2007 of the Pertuis Bridge.

Timbuktu (Mali), on the World Heritage List since 1988, was removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2005 following improvements in the state of preservation of the three mosques of the site and the adoption of a management and conservation plan. But the Committee is concerned about new constructions near the mosques, notably that of the Ahmed Baba Cultural Centre, and asked for an analysis of their impact on the property.

Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu (Peru), inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1983. The Committee voiced grave concern over governance of the property and noted urgent problems with deforestation, the risk of landslides, uncontrolled urban development and illegal access to the sanctuary.

Samarkand – Crossroads of Cultures (Uzbekistan), on the World Heritage List since 2001, is threatened by new roads and buildings which affect the integrity of its traditional urban fabric, in the absence of an adequate regulatory framework. The Committee recognized progress achieved but asked for reinforced monitoring to ensure that development plans underway did not have a negative impact on the values for which the historic town was inscribed. Reinforced monitoring continues to be applied for seven other sites for which it was requested already in 2007.

All seven are on the List of World Heritage in Danger:

Dresden Elbe Valley (Germany, inscribed in 2004); Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (inscribed in 1981); and the five World Heritage sites of Democratic Republic of the Congo: Virunga National Park (inscribed in 1979), Kahuzi-Biega National Park (inscribed in 1980), Garamba National Park (inscribed in 1980), Salonga National Park (inscribed in 1984), Okapi Wildlife Reserve (inscribed in 1996). The Committee made no changes to the List of World Heritage in Danger which still contains 30 sites.