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3 Sites Added to List of Endangered World Heritages

The 13th to 16th-century remains of the great sea ports situated off the coast of the United Republic of Tanzania were inscribed on the World Heritage in Danger List at the ongoing session of the World Heritage Committee, the UNESCO announced in Suzhou Tuesday.

This brings the total number of new additions to World Heritage in Danger List to three at this annual session of the Committee, following the Bam Cultural Landscape of Iran and Cologne Cathedral of Germany.

The Committee put the ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and of Songo Mnara on the endangered list based on threats to the integrity of the great ancient sea ports which were inscribed on World Heritage List in 1981, according to a press release of the committee.

The site, which testifies to the two ports' position as a hub of Indian Ocean trade in gold, silver, pearls, perfumes, Arabian crockery, Persian earthenware and Chinese porcelain, is particularly affected by sea erosion, lack of maintenance that is leading to the collapse of buildings, inadequate management and demographic pressure.

Portugal has offered to provide Tanzania with assistance in preserving the site, sources with UNESCO said, noting that such an inscription constitutes a call to improve safeguarding of the site and is designed to rally national and international efforts for their preservation.

The 21-member World Heritage Committee has completed the review of the state of conservation of all sites inscribed on the World Heritage List, which number 788 to date, as well as sites on the World Heritage in Danger List.

It has removed Angkor, the Fort of Bahla and Rwenzori Mountains National Park during this year's session from the World Heritage in Danger List, whose number remains at 35. 

(Xinhua News Agency July 7, 2004)


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