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UNESCO Adds Sites to Heritage List, Two More Said in Danger

[WTN-L World Tibet Network News. Published by The Canada Tibet Committee. Issue ID: 01/12/13; December 13, 2001.]

In addition four already-listed sites were extended to include surrounding attractions, including the site of the Potala Palace in Tibet, which now also includes Norbulingka Palace.

HELSINKI, Dec 13 (AFP) - The United Nations added 18 new "World Heritage" sites to its prestigious list Thursday, but at the same time stressed its concern for the conservation of already-listed sites in the Philippines and Egypt.

The first new sites to be included during UNESCO's World Heritage Committee meeting here were the natural sites of the Brazilian Atlantic islands of Fernando de Noronha and Atol das Rocas, and the Cerrado Protected Areas, which include the national parks of Chapada dos Veadeiros and Emas.

Cuba got its Alejandro de Humboldt National Park listed, while Russia the district of Central Sikhote-Alin, Switzerland the Jungfrau-Aletsch-Bietschhorn area and United Kingdom the East Devon Coast and Dorset.

Ten new cultural sites were also included Thursday, Israel's Masada National Park, the Cultural Landscape of Fertoe-Neusiedlersee on the Austrian-Hungarian border, and Brazil the Historic Center of the Town of Goias.

Austria also got Vienna's Historical Center inscribed on the list, China the Yungang Grottoes, France the town of Provins, Kenya the Old Town of Lamu, Morroco the Medina of Essaouira, Poland the Churches of Peace in Jawor and Swidnica, Portugal the Historic Center of Guimaraes, Sweden the Mining Area of the Great Copper Mountain in Falun, and Uzbekistan the ancient city of Samarkand, dubbed the Crossroads of Cultures.

In addition four already-listed sites were extended to include surrounding attractions, including the site of the Potala Palace in Tibet, which now also includes Norbulingka Palace.

Ecuador's Galapagos Islands site was increased to cover a marine reserve, Russia's Volcanoes of Kamchatka site now includes Kluchevskoy Nature Park, while in Kenya's Lake Turkana National Parks site, the Sibiloi/Central Island National Parks now also encompasses South Island National Park.

Earlier in the day the committee voiced its concern over the state of already-listed sites in Egypt and the Philippines by putting them on an "endangered" list, saying their preservation was under threat.

"The Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras, inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1995, represent a very delicate, evolving cultural landscape," the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Committee said in a statement.

"In the absence of a systematic monitoring program and comprehensive management plan, it is, at present, impossible to guarantee the preservation and sustainable development of these rice terraces."

The other site put on the endangered list was the ancient Christian city of Abu Mena in Egypt -- inscribed in 1979 -- which is threatened by the development of the surrounding area, UNESCO said.

"A land-reclamation program for agricultural development has caused a dramatic rise of the water table. Excess water is posing a serious threat of collapse to numerous buildings and they have had to be closed to the public," it said.

At the same time, UNESCO removed Iguacu National Park in Brazil from the endangered list, following government measures against helicopter traffic over its impressive waterfalls -- among the world's largest -- and an illegal road cutting into the park.

The World Heritage in Danger list currently comprises 31 of the 708 sites on the World Heritage List. They are put on the endangered list because their conservation is "threatened by natural causes or by human intervention."

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee is expected to add over 30 new sites to its World Heritage List this year, and more new sites were expected to be


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