22 June 2009
The World Heritage Committee will consider requests for the inscription of new sites on UNESCO’s World Heritage List when it meets for its 33rd session in Seville, Spain on 22-30 June.During this year’s session, Kyrgyzstan as the only country from Central Asia will present a property – the Sulaiman-Too Sacred Mountain - for inscription. Of the five Central Asian countries, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have no properties inscribed on the List to date.
Central Asia with its unique historical background and numerous cultural and natural heritage sites remains one of the most under-represented regions on the World Heritage List.
To date, the World Heritage List recognizes 878 properties of “outstanding universal value”, including 679 cultural, 174 natural and 25 mixed properties in 145 States Parties to the 1972 Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage.
Altogether only ten of these sites are located in the five Central Asian countries. These sites are: Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, Petroglyphs within the Archaeological Landscape of Tamgaly, Saryarka – Steppe and Lakes of Northern Kazakhstan (Kazakhstan), State Historical and Cultural Park "Ancient Merv", Kunya-Urgench, Parthian Fortresses of Nisa (Turkmenistan) and Itchan Kala, Historic Centre of Bukhara, Historic Centre of Shakhrisyabz, Samarkand – Crossroads of Cultures (Uzbekistan).
The World Heritage Committee, responsible for the implementation of the 1972 Convention consists of representatives of 21 countries, elected by the States Parties to the Convention for up to six years. Each year, the Committee adds new sites to the World Heritage List. The sites are proposed by the State Parties.
Applications are then reviewed by two advisory bodies: Cultural sites by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and the natural sites by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which inform the Committee of their recommendations.
The International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Conservation of Cultural Heritage (ICCROM) provides expert advice on conservation and training in restoration techniques.
The World Heritage Committee also examines reports on the state of conservation of the inscribed sites and asks the State parties to take appropriate conservation and preservation measures when necessary.
UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre is the Secretariat of the World Heritage Committee.