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World Heritage Inscriptions Just Beginning

The inscription of new world heritage sites on the World Heritage List only represents a beginning, which kicks off a long process of preserving their outstanding universal value, Zhang Xinsheng, chairman of the 28th session of the World Heritage Committee and Chinese vice-minister of Education, said at the closing ceremony in Suzhou Wednesday.

"As we have seen from the state of conservation reports, it is a heavy responsibility that weighs on the shoulders of the Committee as well as the relevant State Parties," Zhang said.

The Committee examined 48 new and deferred nominations at this session, and inscribed 34 properties to the World Heritage List, of which five are from countries that were un-represented on the list. He said he is pleased to see Angkor, Bahla Fort and Rwenzori Mountains National Part withdrawn form the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Deliberations on the Cairns Decision finally came to a consensus at the end of the 10-day session, which has helped form "more concrete and sensible" ways of implementing the Global Strategy for world heritage protection, Zhang said.

"This represents a significant step forward toward making the World Heritage List more balanced, more representative and therefore more credible," he said.

He said with these new mechanisms in place, the four "Cs" of the Global Strategy, namely conservation, capacity building, communication and credibility, will be greatly strengthened. As an important follow-up to this session, there will be the 7th Extraordinary Session and an experts' meeting in Paris this December, which will further examine regional report on world heritage protection, he said.

The 29th Session of the World Heritage Committee will be held in Durban, South Africa in 2005.
(Xinhua News Agency July 8, 2004)

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