Corinne, 13, from Dartmouth asks five timely questions: "What does it mean to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site? Is the title permanent? How many of these sites are there in the world? Is there a limit to how many sites any country can have?"
Last month (June 30) in St. Petersburg Russia, the World Heritage Site Committee, a governing body of 21 elected members, chose 26 from the 36 nominees and declared the cultural landscape of Nova Scotia’s Grand Pré a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This was Canada’s sixteenth time to be honoured in this way and Nova Scotia’s third. Lunenburg’s Old Town (1995) and the Joggins fossil cliffs (2008) are also among the 962 places of outstanding universal value on this prestigious list.
UNESCO stands for United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organization. The heritage sites must meet at least one of the 10 cultural and natural criteria , some of which are: exceptional natural phenomena, ecological and biological processes, human creative genius, and a unique testimony to cultural tradition or civilizations.
The World Heritage Convention Treaty was introduced in 1972 and the first list was created in 1976. There are now 185 countries committed to the recognition and preservation of exceptional places. There are World Heritage Sites in 157 countries, Italy having the most with 44. Since the sites are of timeless and global human value, they are monitored internationally, funded unpreferentially, and chosen without quotas for geographical locations.
At present, there are 38 World Heritage Sites in danger of losing their WHS status if the countries concerned cannot meet the WHS management, integrity, protection or authenticity expectations Only two sites have ever been delisted: an Oryx sanctuary in Oman because of poaching and habitat degradation, and the Dresden Elbe Valley in Germany because of the construction of a bridge that bisects the site. This year, two previously endangered sites have been reinstated, one in Pakistan and one in the Philippines.
Congratulations to Grand Pré for bringing another aspect of our beautiful province’s unique history and culture to the attention of the world.
The World Heritage Convention was ratified by 185 countries
The 962 World Heritage Sites are unique and meet specific criteria
The number of WH sites a country may have is unlimited.
Of Canada’s 16 WH sites, 3 are in NS
Poorly managed sites become "endangered" and can be subsequently delisted