Experts see good signs in India’s election to Unesco World Heritage Committee

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Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The archaeologists and heritage experts are elated with India’s election to the World Heritage Committee of Unesco (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation). The term of the membership is four years. They say that the development indicates the growing influence of the country and it would help third world countries, especially in Asia, to put forth their point of view.

“There are more than 1,100 world heritage sites. With 40 such protected buildings or locations, India is at six positions in the list. Getting membership is certainly a noteworthy achievement and gives us significant visibility,” said KK Muhammed, noted archaeologist, who was the regional director of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).         

On Thursday, India was elected to the panel of the cultural wing of the Union Nations during the general assembly held at headquarters in Paris in which 193 States Parties participated.

This will be the country’s fourth term at the panel. Earlier, India managed to win the prestigious seat in 1985, 2001 and 2011.

Last week, India was re-elected to the Unesco Executive Board.

Following the announcement, union culture and tourism minister G Kishan Reddy congratulated the ASI.  “Matter of great pride that India is once again the member of the prestigious 21 nation world heritage committee (WHC) from 2021-25. This is India’s 4th term in the WHC. Congratulations India and Team ASI,” Reddy tweeted.

The committee consists of representatives from 21 of the States Parties, which is responsible for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention. According to Unesco, the panel also defines the use of the World Heritage Fund and allocates financial assistance upon requests from States Parties.

“If you are a member, you have influence over decision making. Having countries like India on the list means it creates a balance and prevents the management and decision-making from becoming too Eurocentric. Generally, our criteria and perspective for heritage are based on western standards. With India as a member, experience and views of third world countries can effectively be conveyed,” said Swapna Liddle, author and historian.       

The committee decides on the inclusion of a heritage property or site in the celebrated list of the World Heritage Sites. It examines reports on conservation interventions of inscribed properties and issues directions to act if sites are not being properly managed.



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