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  • Ahmed Saleh

UNESCO adds new sites to World Heritage List in Riyadh

Riyadh, September 17, 2023, During its 45th Session, which has been prolonged and is taking place in Riyadh, the World Heritage Committee yesterday added new sites to the UNESCO World Heritage List. Among the recently added sites are natural areas like the Odzala-Kokoua Forest Massif in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Dry Forests of Andrefana in Madagascar, the Volcanoes and Forests of Mount Pelée, and the Pitons of Northern Martinique in France. The Cat Ba Archipelago was added to Ha Long Bay's limits, which are located in Vietnam. The statement from the World Heritage Committee during its current meeting, detailing the outcomes of the decision to add about 50 new sites to the World Heritage List, is being eagerly awaited by the entire world. These 50 sites include 12 natural sites, two sites of mixed value, and 37 cultural sites. This is in addition to talking about five different boundary changes for existing cultural sites.

The committee started its routine activities last week, which included talking about rules and voting on its lists.

The voting procedure for several nominations made by UNESCO member states to be added to the World Heritage List started in the second week.

Up until the conclusion of the committee's activities on September 24, the process of adding new sites to UNESCO's World Heritage List is anticipated to continue.

The organization has an annual meeting to update the list in accordance with its relevance to the tourism industry and to discuss providing the necessary financing to protect the sites. The UNESCO World Heritage List highlights the cultural and ecological diversity of the world.

Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan collectively presented a request for the 900-kilometer Zarafshan-Karakum Corridor, which is located along the ancient Silk Road, to be included on the World Heritage List during the session.

Additionally, Tunisia submitted a request for Djerba Island to be included on the World Heritage List. The island, which has a surface area of 514 square kilometers, is strategically important in the Mediterranean Sea.

The "Uruq Bani Ma'arid Reserve" in Saudi Arabia, which is located on the western edge of the Empty Quarter desert, is another location the committee is thinking about including. It comprises key natural habitats, such as towering sand dunes and intermittent limestone plateaus, and spans an area of 12,787 square kilometers.

Turkiye hopes to get its mosques from the medieval era, which are distinguished by their wooden constructions, included on the World Heritage List.

The perfectly kept Maison Carrée temple (also known as "Square House"), which is located in the city of Nimes in the southwest of France, was requested by France.

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