Public participation critical to World Heritage protection: UNESCO

LANZHOU. July 25. KAZINFORM Public participation is critical for the protection of World Heritage sites, according to a senior official with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

UNESCO Director and Representative of the Beijing Office Abhimanyu Singh made the remarks late Wednesday after visiting the Mogao Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Dunhuang City of northwest China's Gansu Province famous for its Buddhist statues and murals.

Singh's trip, which also took him to other relics sites, was part of a ten-day campaign aimed at raising public awareness about preserving cultural heritage on China's ancient Silk Road.

The Cherish Dunhuang campaign was initiated by Xinhua News Agency, with the support of UNESCO, the Gansu Administration of Cultural Heritage and the Dunhuang Academy.

Singh applauded the campaign, which wrapped up on Thursday, saying that it was "timely and targeted."
In addition to journalists, three citizen reporters selected from over 1,000 applicants filed multimedia reports through Xinhua's traditional and multimedia services, as well as its mobile multimedia platform "iFocus," during their 2,000-km journey to major natural and cultural heritage sites along the Silk Road.

They came from different regions throughout China and boasted a diverse range of educational and professional backgrounds.

"The attendance of civil reporters is necessary for the protection of World Heritage sites and remarkably enhanced people's awareness of it," said Singh.

"The people who are university faculty and students enriched the reporting team and gave individual but different viewpoints," he added.

The official expressed his belief that the diversified and multi-level social attendance and interaction would definitely prompt greater feedback and improve the influence of the campaign.

The Silk Road is a network of ancient overland trade routes that extends across the Asian continent and connects China to the Mediterranean regions.

Several sections of the Silk Road were added to a list of potential future candidates for the World Heritage List this year. China currently has 45 sites that are inscribed in the World Heritage List, second only to Italy.

Singh said he hopes that more campaigns like Cherish Dunhuang would be organized to boost people's understanding of the importance and necessity of protecting World Heritage sites.

During his first trip to Dunhuang, the official, who has been working in China for five years, voiced appreciation for the proper preservation and highly efficient management of the World Heritage sites in Gansu, which is known for its arid climate.

"With unpredictable weather and a unique desert environment, they have made high-level achievements in protection and preservation," Singh said, adding that high-tech applications have enhanced guidance for tourists and better regulated them.

Source: ChinaDaily

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