Extended 44th World Heritage Committee session opens in Fuzhou, China

Friday, 16 July 2021
access_time 2 min read
A dance performance during the opening ceremony of the Extended 44th session of the World Heritage Committee.

The World Heritage Committee’s 44th session opened today in Fuzhou (China) at the Fuzhou Strait Culture and Art Center, and continues online until 31 July. During the session, the 21-member Committee will notably examine the state of conservation of 255 sites already inscribed on the World Heritage List, 53 of which also figure on the List of World Heritage in Danger

In her opening address, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said, “As the fiftieth anniversary of the 1972 Convention approaches, this session is an opportunity to look at the implementation of the Convention with our eyes wide open, from the listing processes and conservation monitoring to its impact on local populations.”

The importance of preserving World Heritage was stressed by His Excellency Mr Xi Jinping, President of the People's Republic of China, who, in his message of congratulation, said “To better preserve, inherit, and harness these valuable treasures is our collective responsibility.”

The World Heritage Committee is responsible for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention and supports countries around the world in the preservation of World Heritage sites. This year’s session combines the work of 2020 and 2021, as the annual meeting scheduled for 2020 was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Key points to be covered include updating the Policy Document on the impacts of Climate Change on World Heritage, and the successful completion of periodic reporting, a core conservation monitoring mechanism, in countries in the Africa and Arab regions.

On 18 July, 10:00 am CEST (UTC+2, Paris Time), Mr Ernesto Ottone R., UNESCO Assistant-Director General for Culture, Mr Tian Xuejun, Chairperson of the 44th session and Ms Mechtild Rössler, Director of UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre, will host a press conference that will be streamed online.

Starting on 24 July, the World Heritage Committee will review nominated sites for the UNESCO World Heritage List, beginning with nominations that could not be reviewed last year. There are currently 39 sites proposed for inscription on the World Heritage List (six natural and 33 cultural).

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