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Iran’s 1st Natural Site Awaits UNESCO Listing

Mangrove Forest | Hormozgan- Qeshm
Iran’s first natural site will be considered for registration on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The 35th meeting of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s World Heritage Committee, which will convene in Paris on June 19, will review the dossier of Hara Protected Zone. Bahrain was previously expected to host the meeting. However, about a couple of months ago, due to the widespread unrest in that country, it was decided to hold the event at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, ISNA reported.

Historical Sites
In this meeting, 42 natural and historical sites from 40 countries will be examined for registration on the World Heritage List. Iran’s share is one natural site and one historical site.
In the historical site category, Bahrain, Barbados, China, Colombia, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Spain, UAE, Ukraine and Vietnam have submitted applications. Iran’s proposed site in this category is “Iranian Garden”.
Mohammad Hassan Talebian, the person in charge of the “Iranian Garden” dossier, said details of nine gardens from six provinces of the country and ranging from the Achaemenid up to the Qajar era have been forwarded.
He stressed that the most important feature of this dossier is that it concurrently deals with historical, natural and cultural considerations.
According to Talebian, the biggest advantage of presenting such a dossier is that it forges cooperation with experts and leads to exchange of information.

Natural Sites
Australia, Benin, China, India, Germany, Japan, Vietnam and Kenya have applied for registration of natural sites on the World Heritage List. Three natural-historical sites have been proposed for registration by Jordan, Jamaica and Senegal.
Massoud Alavian Sadr, the deputy head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO), said experts of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) will examine the dossier of Hara Protected Zone.
“Since such dossiers are related to various organizations, the results of expert examinations of IUCN must be obtained. Ultimately it will be clarified in the (Paris) meeting whether there is a need for IUCN to carry out more complete examinations or not,” he said.
“If, ultimately, the results of IUCN experts’ assessments are definite, the dossier will be raised in this meeting. It is likely that IUCN may need more information, in which case the dossier will be presented next year.”

Other Sites
With regard to the dossier of Hirkani Forests whose registration on World Heritage List depends on the cooperation of Iran and Azerbaijan republic, Sadr said the Azeri Embassy in Tehran has been urged to hold a few meetings in this regard, but the Azeri side has not yet announced its consent and no meetings have been held so far.
“We have held telephonic negotiations and private talks with the Azeri culture minister in Kenya. The point is that the dossier of Hirkani Forests should be presented jointly by Iran and Azerbaijan,” he said.
In relation to the registration of Arg-e Bam (Bam Citadel) and Naqsh-e Jahan Square, Sadr said, “For Naqsh-e Jahan Square, World Heritage Committee has asked for a monthly report over the next two years. Hence, we should prepare a report on the related results for the meeting in 2012. The dossier of Arg-e Bam will also be presented next year.”
In the 34th meeting of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee in Brazil, measures taken with regard to Arg-e Bam were commended, but the dossier still remains on the list of endangered world heritage. In the dossier presented by Iran last year, the plan for protecting Bam over the next 10 to 15 years was presented.
In 2004, due to the severe destruction caused by a devastating earthquake, Arg-e Bam was concurrently enlisted on World Heritage List and the List of Endangered World Heritage Sites. Extensive activities were launched for removing the historical site from the list of endangered sites and every year reports have been submitted to the World Heritage Committee.
Last year, the World Heritage Committee called on Iran to also compile a special managerial plan for Isfahan. The committee requested that attention be paid to Isfahan’s traffic, public transportation, housing, urban development, subway system and all things needed by a city.
Furthermore, the committee asked Iran to reduce the height of Jahan-Nama Tower based on the approval of a conference in Spain and the agreement reached in Tehran.
So far, 12 Iranian historical sites have been registered on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
More information : Irandaily
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