Why many World Heritage sites are at risk | The Economist

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UNESCO's World Heritage site designation aims to protect the world's most valuable natural and cultural treasures. But often, that designation is not enough. Click here to subscribe to The Economist on YouTube: http://econ.trib.al/rWl91R7 In 2016, the archaeological site of Philippi in Greece was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It was one of 21 such sites that made the grade last year. The World Heritage Convention was adopted in 1972 with the aim of protecting the world's most valuable natural and cultural treasures. One of the first World Heritage sites was the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador. Italy has the most UNESCO World Heritage sites with 51 followed by China, Spain, France, Germany, and Mexico. There are now a total of 1052 World Heritage sites around the world in 165 countries. 814 of them are cultural sites that may have historical or anthropological value. 203 are natural sites that may include habitats for threatened species. 35 are a mixture of both types. But some of them are at risk. Of 229 sites identified by the World Wildlife Fund as being significant for their natural value in 2016 almost half are threatened by industrial development such as illegal logging, mining, and oil and gas development. Being designated a World Heritage site can bring attention and put pressure on governments to protect areas but the publicity can also cause an uptick in tourism to the sites, leading to further degradation. 55 World Heritage sites are listed a being in danger, some of them due to conflict. All six of Syria's UNESCO's World Heritage sites have been damaged or destroyed in the war. Palmyra was an ancient city whose well-preserved ruins were partially blown up by Islamic State militants after they seized control of the area. But World Heritage does not only consist of places you can visit. UNESCO has a list of things of "intangible cultural heritage" that icnludes items such as yoga, Turkish coffee and Belgian beer. They, at least, do not seem to be at risk of disappearing anytime soon. Daily Watch: mind-stretching short films every day of the working week. For more from Economist Films visit: http://films.economist.com/ Check out The Economist’s full video catalogue: http://econ.st/20IehQk Like The Economist on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheEconomist/ Follow The Economist on Twitter: https://twitter.com/theeconomist Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/theeconomist/ Follow us on LINE: http://econ.st/1WXkOo6 Follow us on Medium: https://medium.com/@the_economist
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2017-04-17 23:53:32
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