The World Monuments Fund has announced the 2022 World Monuments Watch, a selection of 25 heritage sites of extraordinary cultural significance facing global challenges and which are in dire need of preservation and vital to local communities.

They include hitis (water fountains) of Kathmandu valley. Hitis represent an extensive system of historic water distribution points and underground channels that need maintenance to ensure that local communities have reliable access to clean water.

According to a press release issued by New Yorkbased WMF yesterday, these sites illuminate the effects of global issues such as climate change, imbalanced tourism, underrepresentation, and recovery from crisis, thereby underscoring the need of greater action to support heritage places and people who care for them.

Reflecting the WMF's expanded commitment to addressing these challenges through preservation approaches, the Watch not only brings awareness to pressures on heritage sites, but is also the impetus for developing new field projects that provide local solutions with global relevance.

Launched in 1996 with the founding sponsor American Express, the Watch is announced every two years and includes sites nominated by individuals and community-based organisations that span the globe.

The 2022 open call resulted in more than 225 nominations that underwent extensive internal and external review by the International Council on Monuments and Sites and an independent panel of international heritage experts responsible for the final selection.

Since the programme's inception, the Watch has been a proven tool for raising awareness about the heritage places in need of protection and action and support for their preservation.

To date, the WMF has contributed more than $110 million toward projects at more than 300 Watch sites, with the visibility provided by the Watch helping communities leverage an additional $300 million from other sources.

Representing 24 countries, including Nepal, and spanning nearly 12,000 years of history, the 2022 Watch encompasses a broad range of examples of how global challenges manifest and intersect at the heritage sites, thereby providing opportunities to improve the lives of communities as they adapt to the future.

Dramatic examples of sea level rise at places such as Koagannu Mosques and Cemetery (Maldives) give warning about the fate of coastal heritage, while the potential to respond to climate-induced water scarcity by leveraging traditional knowledge and historic infrastructure is explored at the hitis (Water Fountains) of Kathmandu valley (Nepal) and the Yanacancha-Huaquis Cultural Landscape (Peru), among other countries.

A version of this article appears in the print on March 4, 2022, of The Himalayan Times.