Joggins ready for UNESCO nomination

CanWest News Service
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QUEBEC - A Canadian site is up for nomination as a UNESCO world heritage while a German one is in danger of having that status revoked.
The annual meeting of UNESCO's world heritage committee opened Wednesday in Quebec City, where Canada and 40 other countries are seeking the high-profile designation for cultural or natural sites from the United Nations body.
The nine-day meeting, hosted by Canada to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the founding of Quebec City, will consider the nomination of Canada's Joggins Fossil Cliffs among the 45 new sites proposed for listing.
Joggins is a significant Coal Age fossil site. A decision is expected Sunday or Monday.
The agency will also be addressing its endangered list featuring 30 sites threatened by a variety of problems such as natural disaster, pollution, mass tourism or poor conservation and management of the site.
Among those is one of Germany's most historic and scenic areas of 18th and 19th century significance, the Dresden Elbe Valley. German authorities decided to build a bridge in the heart of the landscape against the advice of UNESCO.
"The committee doesn't like to do that (delist a site) and it would be a setback for the property," said UNESCO spokesman Roni Amelan.
A decision on Dresden is expected today or tomorrow.
Amelan noted it would only be the second time UNESCO would revoke a site's status after dropping the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary in Oman, home to a rare type of antelope, in 2007.
Canada is host to 14 World Heritage Sites, including the historic district of Quebec City, the Rocky Mountain parks, Alberta's Dinosaur Provincial Park and Ottawa's Rideau Canal.
Among other applicants are five countries seeking their first sites on the UNESCO list - Kyrgyzstan, Papua New Guinea, San Marino, Saudi Arabia and Vanuatu. Amelan said officials would be "more favourable" to countries seeking a first nomination.
At their meeting, UNESCO officials could also add new properties to the endangered list, such as Peru's Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador, both threatened by mass tourism.
UNESCO's World Heritage list includes 851 sites of "outstanding universal value," including 660 cultural, 166 natural and 25 mixed properties in 141 countries.

Organizations: UNESCO, United Nations

Geographic location: Quebec City, Canada, Germany Oman Rocky Mountain Alberta Dinosaur Provincial Park Ottawa Kyrgyzstan Papua New Guinea San Marino Saudi Arabia Vanuatu Peru Machu Picchu Galapagos Islands Ecuador

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