sábado, 10 de marzo de 2012

Palestine to Submit 20 Sites for UNESCO World Heritage Site Nomination

By Heritage on the Wire
Ancient historic sites such as the Church of the Nativity, the Old City of Hebron and the Qumran caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, to be included.
On its first day as a full-fledged UNESCO member state, Palestinian officials wasted no time announcing plans to submit the names of 20 sites in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza for nomination to the World Heritage List.

“Within the next few days, we will submit a tentative list of 20 sites to be added to the list,” Omar Awadallah, head of the U.N. department at the Palestinian foreign ministry, told the AFP. “From today we are a full party as a state so now we can start all the things that states can do within the rules of the convention; one of them is that we can submit our list to the World Heritage Committee.”

The list includes historic sites like Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity (believed to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ), the Old City of Hebron, the Qumran caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, and Umayyad Palaces like Khirbat al Mafjar.

Last fall, a vote by UNESCO members granted full membership to Palestine, but not without serious costs. The U.S. immediately withdrew its support for the organization — about 22 percent of the group’s annual budget. UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova launched a multi-donor Emergency Fund, which has so far received close to $30 million in contributions from Gabon, the Republic of Congo, Indonesia, East Timor, Iceland, Turkey, Cameroon, Kazakhstan, Belize and others.

Until today, Palestine — home to some of the most historic and sensitive sites on the planet — could not formally submit any properties for nomination to the World Heritage List, which recognizes cultural and natural heritage sites with “outstanding universal value.” Once the tentative list is submitted, it will act as an inventory of the locations Palestinian authorities wish to register. The finalized list will be presented when the World Heritage Committee holds its annual meeting in June to discuss which sites to accept.

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