BAKU (Azerbaijan) • Unesco has inscribed Myanmar's ancient capital of Bagan as a World Heritage site, nearly a quarter of a century after the complex of Buddhist temples was first nominated for listing.
The Indian "Pink City" of Jaipur, the ruins of Liangzhu City in China and the Plain of Jars located in central Laos were also accorded the coveted status at a meeting of the UN cultural body in Baku, Azerbaijan, last Saturday.
The inclusion of Liangzhu City has brought the total number of World Heritage sites in China to 55, the highest in the world.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation also agreed in its morning session to add Bahrain's Dilmun Burial Mounds, the Mozu-Furuichi mounded tombs of Japan and the Dutch colonial-era Ombilin coal mining heritage of Indonesia's Sumatra.
Later on Saturday, the body recognised the Ore Mountains, which join the German region of Saxony with the Czech area of Bohemia, as a World Heritage site, along with the Roman-built water management system of the Bavarian city Augsburg, and Poland's Krzemionki prehistoric flint mines.
An Aboriginal settlement older than the pyramids that provides evidence that indigenous Australians developed sophisticated aquaculture thousands of years ago was also granted World Heritage status, the UN body announced.
The Budj Bim Cultural Landscape in south-east Australia was created by the Gunditjmara nation some 6,600 years ago and includes remnants of elaborate stone channels and pools built to harvest eels from a lake and wetland swamp areas.
The International Council on Monuments and Sites recommended the Myanmar listing, noting that the country had adopted a new heritage law and had formed plans to reduce the impact of hotels and tourism developments around the temple.
The decision recognises the importance of the central Myanmar site - which includes more than 3,500 stupas, temples, monasteries and other structures built between the 11th and 13th centuries - and will likely be a boon to Myanmar's tourist industry.
Number of cultural and natural sites from 167 countries currently on the list of World Heritage sites.
Bagan was first nominated as a World Heritage site in 1995, but the military junta that ruled the country then was accused of ignoring experts' advice on restoration efforts and the nomination was rejected.
Earthquakes have also damaged the ancient structures, most recently in 2016, when nearly 200 temples were damaged by a 6.8-magnitude quake.
Myanmar has renewed efforts to list the site since a transition from military rule began in 2011.
This year, the UN committee is meeting in the capital of Azerbaijan to vote on a total of 36 applications. The gathering will last until Wednesday.
Currently there are more than 1,000 cultural and natural sites from 167 countries on the list.
Last Friday, five sites, including the ancient Iraqi city of Babylon, were added to the list.
The World Heritage Convention seeks to promote cooperation among nations to protect heritages from around the world that are of such outstanding universal value that their conservation is crucial for current and future generations.
To be included on the World Heritage List, sites must be of outstanding universal value and meet at least one out of 10 selection criteria. These include representing a masterpiece of human creative genius; containing superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance; and being an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates significant stages in human history.
REUTERS, DPA, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE