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Rice terraces taken off endangered list

Manila Times, 28 June 2012 - THE Philippines’ rice terraces in the Cordillera region has been removed from the list of endangered heritage sites, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

THE Philippines’ rice terraces in the Cordillera region has been removed from the list of endangered heritage sites, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (Unesco).

The List of World Heritage in Danger is intended to inform the international community of the threats to the outstanding universal values of sites inscribed on the World Heritage List. It was designed to encourage corrective action and support.

Unesco’s World Heritage Committee said Pakistan’s Fort and Shalamar Gardens was also taken off the list.

The committee commended the Philippines and Pakistan for the success of their conservation measures.

The picturesque rice terraces was included in the World Heritage List in 1995 as an outstanding cultural landscape. However, it was placed in the danger list in 2000 following a request from the Philippine government.

“The preservation of the rice terraces required better management and development plus the country also needed increased national and international support,” the committee said, adding that both actions were successfully undertaken, leading to the conservation of the remote high rice fields.

The Unesco said it had extended $153,200 to aid Philippine efforts to conserve paddies it said were threatened by deforestation, disuse, climate change and earthquakes.

Jerry Dalipog, mayor of Banaue town, where two of the five terraced fields are located, said UN-assisted conservation efforts should drive tourist traffic to the sites by up to 30 percent.

“Once the tourists are convinced that there are still terraces left to see, more of them will come and visit us,” he told Agence France-Presse in a telephone interview.

He said Banaue is set to complete by year’s end a four-month project to repair amphitheatre-shaped rice terraces in the village of Batad, one of the most famous sites, that had been disfigured last year by a huge landslide.

The repair works, estimated to cost P50 million, are being funded by the government and private donors, Dalipog added.

The world body describes the terraces as an “expression of sacred traditions and a delicate social balance,” which helped create “a landscape of great beauty that expresses the harmony between humankind and the environment.”

Meanwhile, the committee put the Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City on the top “List of World Heritage in Danger” due to the proposed construction of Liverpool Waters, a massive redevelopment of the historic docklands north of the city center.

The committee said that the development will extend the city center significantly and alter the skyline and profile of the site inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2004.

Furthermore, experts argued that the redevelopment scheme will fragment and isolate the different dock areas visually.

The Committee warned that if the project is implemented, Liverpool may entirely lose the outstanding universal value for which it was given World Heritage status. 

Source: The Manila Times

Source: http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/news/headlines-mt/25730-rice-terraces-taken-off-endangered-list

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