The 39th session of the World Heritage Committee
Update: 03/08/2015 10:00:54
The 39th session of the World Heritage Committee ended in July, 8th 2015 in Bonn, Germany after 10 days of meeting to consider the state of conservation of heritage sites, list the new heritage sites, and discuss issues relating to sustainable conservation strategies of the World Heritage.

During this session, the World Heritage Committee, presided over by HE Mrs Maria Boehmer, Minister of Foreign Affairs of German Feuderal and the member of German Parliament, considered thirty-six nomination dossiers submitted from various countries then approved to inscribe 24 new sites on World Heritage List that included 1 mixed site, 23 cultural sites; 10 of which are in Asia such as China, Japan, South Korea, Denmark, Mongolia, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Israel, and Jordan; the others are in Europe such as Denmark, Turkey, Germany, Norway, Italy, and United Kingdom; only last 4 sites  are in America like the United States of America, Mexico, Uruguay, and Jamaica. The new inscriptions bring to the total number of 1031 sites in 163 countries inscribed on the World Heritage List. 802 of which are the cultural sites, 197 of which are the natural sites, and the last 32 ones are the mixed natural and cultural sites. Simultaneously, the World Heritage Committee approved the extensions to three existing sites. The Committee also examined the state of conservation of 95 sites the already on the List, as well as that of the 46 sites inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger and added 3 sites to the List due to ill management. These sites will be liable to ravage in the event of armed conflict or natural disaster. Besides that, Los Katíos in Colombia was taken off the List of World Heritage in Danger after improving and enhancing the state of site.

After participating in the session and having a speech in the evening of 28th June, the Director-General of UNESCO, HE. Mrs. Irina Bokova, launched the global program on Unite for Heritage to strengthen mobilazation of the resources in the face of armed conflict or natural disaster. During this session, the World Heritage Committee also adopted the Bonn Declaration which recommends that heritage protection should be included in the mandate of peacekeeping missions where in appropriation. This acts as a positive feedback on the condition of violating the International Convention concerning the protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, particularly in the Middle East and Africa. It calls on UNESCO to enhance its international leadership in coordinating the response to the protection of heritage in the event of armed conflict or natural disaster in accordance with UNESCO’s slogan “Establishing peace in the mind of everybody”.

Although Angela Merkel, the Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of Germany, could not be present at this session, she sent a warm greeting and a message to the conference via a live broadcast program. She notably emphasized the importance of heritage for the mutual cultural understanding worldwide.

At the closing ceremony in the evening of July 8th 2015, Maria Boehmer highly appreciated UNESCO’s role as a forum in respect, faith, and mutual friendship. She also hoped that all Convention state parties will have positive contributionsto this forum.

A Young Experts Forum was held from 18 to 29 June 2015 prior to the 39th session. This forum welcomes 30 young experts who were selected from many state parties (one of them comes from Vietnam) to take part in workshops in the Upper Middle Rhrine Valley and in the historic city of Bonn. They had shared the ideas towards sustainable management of World Heritage sites. The young experts together made a short video clip to demonstrate their Declaration to call upon all state parties of UNESCO that they  should put the World Heritage Convention training in the system of national education.

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee officially announced that the 40th session will be held from 10th to 20th July 2016 in Istanbul, Turkey.

As one of 21 member of the World Heritage Committee, the Delegates of Vietnam including the  representative leaders  from the National Council for Cultural Heritage; National Commission for UNESCO; Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism; the provinces that having the world heritage and the Management Board of six heritage sites, have attended to the examination on the nomination dossiers and the main issues in the Agenda. Mr. Nguyen Van Cao – Deputy Secretary of the Provincial Party, Chairman of People’s Committee of Thua Thien Hue provice headed the province delegate, together with Mr. Phan Thanh Hai, Director of Hue Monuments Conservation Centre, and other members attended the main sessions  and meetings relating to the issues of heritage and its sustainable conservation orientation in the future. The delegation had several meeting with the Secretariat of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and a number of leaders and experts from the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) to inform and exchange the content of the general management plan of Hue heritage site adopted by Thua Thien Hue province and has just submitted to the World Heritage Centre for consultation, and to discuss plans to deploy the re-nomination dossier in the period 2015-2017.

Translated by Le Hien
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