Opening in Brazil July 25 for the annual meeting closing August 3, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee has addressed 29 sites for their cultural or physical significance. Founded in 1972, the committee recognizes sites, which may obtain funding from the World Heritage Fund. This year, chaired by João Luiz da Silva Ferreira, representatives of the State Parties have recognized 16 cultural sites, four natural sites, one mixed (cultural and natural) site and six extensions to existing sites, and two properties have been placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Properties have been divided countries into five geographic zones, including Africa, Arab States (covering North Africa and the Middle East), Asia-Pacific (including Australia and Oceania), Europe, North America (consisting of the United States and Canada), Latin America and the Caribbean.
In Africa, the Rainforests of Atsinanana in Madagascar have been placed on the list of World Heritage in Danger, while in the Arab States, three cultural sites that have been inscribed include the Atturaif District in ad-Dir’iyah in Saudi Arabia and in Iran, the Sheikh Safi al-Din Khnegh and Shrine Ensemble in Ardabil and the Tabriz Historic Bazaar Complex.
In the Asia-Pacific region, six cultural sites include The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long-Hanoi in Vietnam, monuments of Dengfeng, in the “Centre of Heaven and Earth," in China; Sarazm in Tajikistan, the Australian Convict Sites, Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands, Historic Villages of Korea, including Hahoe and Yangdong; and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Tanzania. Three natural sites inscribed include China Danxia, the Phoenix Islands Protected Area in Kiribati and The Central Highlands of Sri Lanka.
In Europe, cultural sites include the Episcopal city of Albi in France and the 17th Century canal ring area inside the Singelgracht in Amsterdam. Inscribed as a natural site are the Pitons, cirques and remparts of Reunion Island, also in France.
In North America, the area of Papahnaumokukea in Hawaii has been inscribed as a mixed property, and the Everglades National Park has been listed as a World Heritage in Danger.
Within Latin America, three cultural sites include, in Mexico, the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, the prehistoric caves of Yagul and Mitla in the Central Valley of Oaxaca and in Brazil, the São Francisco Square in the town of São Cristovão.
Extensions have all been listed in Europe this year, including the Pirin National Park in Bulgaria, the Historic Centre and Schloss Eggenberg in Austria, extending "City of Graz," and the Church of the Resurrection of Sucevia Monastery in Romania, an extension of the “Churches of Moldavia."
Also, the Paleolithic Rock-Art Ensemble in Siega Verde, Spain, extending “Prehistoric Rock Art Sites in the Côa Valley” in Portugal, the Upper Harz Water Management System in Germany, an extension of Mines to Rammelsberg and Historic Town of Goslar; and the Røros Mining Town and the Circumference in Norway, extending “Røros Mining Town."