Every year, the UNESCO committee determines which new nominations will be inscribed on the official World Heritage Site list, thereby receiving international funding, awareness and support. At the conclusion of the 2010 34th session, from the current list of 1494 nominations submitted by member states, 21 were selected to be added to the official list (15 cultural sites, 5 natural sites, 1 mixed), bringing the count to 911.
In addition, this year, Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery, Georgia, Rainforests of the Atsinanana, Madagascar, Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi, Uganda, and Everglades National Park, United States were flagged as endangered and added to the List of World Heritage in Danger. Unfortunately, four existing sites were also moved to the this list, bringing the count of endangered sites to 34.
In the case of Everglades National Park, agricultural and urban development is the main cause of degradation which has critical affected the ecology and the various wetland species that thrive there. The Everglades, were first declared an endangered site in 1993 following damage caused by Hurricane Andrew. They were removed from the list only in 2007 and are back this year.
Each of the 34 sites on the endangered list is in dire need of protection or reparation due to environmental threats. The list of reasons range from oil spills and industrial pollution to natural disasters such as earthquakes or flooding in the case Iranian city of Bam, or warfare, willful destruction and terrorism that has affected the Bamiyan Valley in Afghanistan.
In the next installment of this series, we will talk about what you can do to help preserve these historic sites.