Spain has been elected as a new member of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee at the 21st meeting of the World Heritage Convention General Assembly in Paris, the headquarters of this international organisation
After receiving the largest number of votes (157 of the 170 participating countries), Spain has confirmed its leadership in the management of World Heritage assets. The country has a total of 46 assets on the UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites.
Spain will be a member of this UNESCO Committee for a period of four years. The country specifically asked for this period in order to facilitate the rotation of countries on the committee, as members are allowed to remain on the committee for up to six years. During its time as a member, Spain will contribute its experience in heritage management in order to actively help apply the World Heritage Convention. Furthermore, it will foster possible synergies with other conventions and UNESCO protection bodies.
Spain has plenty of outstanding experts in this field due to its position as a benchmark for heritage management both domestically and worldwide after developing numerous cooperation programmes. Via these programmes, the General State Administration Services work with other bodies to preserve its own heritage and that of other regions around the world, ensuring that heritage plays a key role in improving quality of life. To that end, the Spanish State will send a delegation of experts on cultural and natural heritage and application of the convention to the sessions held by the committee.
In addition, Spain has committed to:
Working towards greater representation of assets and geographic areas not sufficiently represented on the List of World Heritage Sites.
Strengthening the protection, conservation and suitable management of those assets already on the List of World Heritage Sites.
Stimulating international cooperation and the creation of World Heritage Site networks for the spread of best practices and the exchange of information.
Collaborating closely with the World Heritage Centre and consultation bodies on the initiatives they carry out.
21 countries on the UNESCO World Heritage Committee
Since the World Heritage Convention was ratified in 1982, Spain has been a member of the committee from 1991 to 1997 and then again from 2005 to 2009, when Seville was chosen to host the 33rd Session.
Made up by 21 State Parties chosen at the General Assembly from among the 190 signatory States, this committee is the body responsible for the application of the Convention Concerning the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage. Its basic task is to examine the conservation status of the sites included on the List of World Heritage Sites, decide whether or not to include new candidate sites and to add or remove endangered assets on the List of World Heritage in Danger. Similarly, the committee allocates the various budgets from the Global Heritage Fund based on needs.
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