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Something ‘outstanding universal value’ that you must hand down to the next generation

December 4, 2011 5 comments

I’m going to take an interview test next Sunday in Tokyo. I have to talk about world heritage sites at the interview. This time on this blog, let me write an article about UNESCO, world heritage sites, and the grand meeting at which the international treaty, commonly known as the World Heritage Convention, was ratified.

Something happened around the Nile Valley about fifty years ago. The construction of Aswan High Dam led to the threat for numerous ancient Nubian treasures. The passions to protect invaluable treasures and artefacts there transcended national interestes and pride. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization(UNESCO) kicked off the first international campaign, which was to safeguard such treasures and artefacts in grave danger. That was the first activity to initiate the world heritage convention.

In 1972, UNESCO called sites which should be preserved Cultural, Natural, and Mixed Heritage sites. The member states of UNESCO ratified the international treaty generally known as the World Heritage Convention. 148 countries are registered as members to date. We have 936 registered heritage sites on the earth as of June, 2011. In Japan, 16 sites are registered as the sites so far.

The World Heritage Committee, the subsidiary organization to UNESCO, is the one who certifies world heritage sites. Member states which ratified the convention hand in a recommendation to register sites in their countries as the world heritage sites. The states can submit the application once in a year. The World Heritage Committee deliberate over the claim if it is adequate or not.

As I wrote, over 900 world heritage sites are all over the world. Itsukushima Shinto Shrine in Japan, Machu Picchu in Peru, Mont-Saint-Michel and its Bay in France, etc. are where I would like to visit someday.

Nothing is more terrible than ignorance. Koichiro Matsuura, a Japanese, was the former Director-General of UNESCO, who was the very person to trigger the USA’s back to UNESCO. He reformed UNESCO from within.

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Categories: My ideas
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