Will Tokyo 2020 be the revival Games? Much uncertainty remains but preparations haven’t stopped as Japan remains committed to hosting the Olympics.
Protecting culture and nature: how World Heritage Sites are chosen
The World Heritage Committee decides who makes it or breaks it on the World Heritage List. We explore why world heritage protection is so important for all of us.
It all started in the summer of 1954, when the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) launched an international campaign to rescue the twin Abu Simbel temples in Egypt, threatened by the construction of a dam. The $80 million operation was such a success that it paved the way for world heritage protection for the next sixty years.
To this day 191 countries have signed the World Heritage Convention (an international agreement to safeguard natural and cultural heritage) and instituted the World Heritage Committee. This is a group of 21 elected states who, annually, choose which are the world’s wonders in most urgent need of protection. In 2015 its 39th session was hosted in Bonn, Germany, from 28 June to 8 July.
The Committee aims to “recognise and protect sites that are outstanding demonstrations of human coexistence with the land as well as human interactions, cultural coexistence, spirituality and creative expression”.
To do so, it defines the World Heritage List. The appeal of being included stems from its prestigious reputation, which results in high media attention and increased tourism, therefore extra income.
Today, the List includes 1,031 properties in 163 countries. To make it on there, each has undergone a multi-stage selection process to certify its conservation status.
Any State Party to the Convention can submit sites for nomination if they fulfill at least one of the 10 selection criteria. For instance, they can “represent a masterpiece of human creative genius”, “contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty”, or be “an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement”.
The country with “most heritage” is Italy, with 46 cultural and 4 natural sites. Paying a tribute to history, landscape and tradition, its 2015 nominations were Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalú and Monreale.
When, for manmade or natural reasons, sites are threatened, the Committee is also in charge of including them on the World Heritage in Danger List. Today, Syria is at the top of this List with 6 cultural sites endangered by the ongoing conflict. The Committee also allocates $4 million of the World Heritage Fund a year to the most threatened sites.
Whilst we wait to see what makes it on the list in 2016, the most adventurous travellers may try to catch a glimpse of Surtsey, a volcanic island in the south of Iceland. No one can access it, except scientists for research purposes, making it one of the most inaccessible and wildest World Heritage Sites.
Homecast is a podcast series recorded in quarantine in which creatives from around the world share their lived experiences of these unique circumstances. Creator Giacomo De Poli tells us why this collective diary was needed now more than ever.
L’associazione ambientalista lancia un appello agli investitori affinché non finanzino più le attività estrattive pericolose per l’ambiente.
As London and the rest of the UK are in lockdown opportunities for long-lasting change have emerged out of of the crisis: solutions relating to the environment, work and healthcare that can be applied elsewhere too.
A historic win for the Ashaninka of Brazil as they receive compensation for deforestation on their land
On top of a 2.4 million dollar compensation, the indigenous Ashaninka people will receive an official apology from the companies who deforested their lands in the 1980s.
From Italy to the United States, workers in the logistics and delivery sectors are protesting to demand better sanitary conditions to protect themselves from Covid-19.
Covid-19 could have dramatic consequences in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Abandoned by the government, the indigenous Waorani people are organising to combat the pandemic on their own.
Testing, tracking and transparency: South Korean government’s coronavirus strategy rewarded in elections
South Korea has flattened the curve of an initially explosive coronavirus outbreak, even holding nationwide elections. The government’s response, rewarded by voters, hasn’t however been immune to criticism, including privacy concerns.
The pandemic and its restrictions are affecting everyone, without exceptions. However factors like housing, income inequalities, gender, access to technology and working conditions are influencing how people experience the health crisis.