Nepal urged to seek inclusion of more heritage sites in UNESCO list

Kathmandu, June 16:

An adviser to the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has urged the government to propose at least three more sites for inclusion on the World Heritage Sites list.

Richard A Engelhardt, the regional adviser for Culture in Asia and the Pacific, today said that Nepal can now take steps to have more sites enlisted on the world list of heritages.

“Possibilities are there. I can say that at least the mustard oil-mill of Khokana, the ancient settlements of Upper Mustang and the ancient trade route of Doplo can seek inclusion on the World Heritage Sites list,” he told this daily.

“The UNESCO-affiliated funds might provide necessary assistance for the same,” he said. “Since all cultural sites and their zones — the palaces, temples and stupas — are associated with the ruling class or the elites, Nepal should lobby for the inclusion of sites, which reflect cultures of the country people, on the list,” he said.

In general, a state should first prepare a report on the sites with details of importance of the sites, boundaries, and management plans for their inclusion on the Tentative List.

The sites figuring on the tentative list are later selected for inclusion on the world heritage sites list. Presently, Nepal has two cultural and two natural World Heritage Sites.

Engelhardt, who is presently in the capital on a mentoring mission of the UNESCO, appreciated the government’s recent initiatives in the fields of conservation and managerial development. “I appreciate the developments on the conservation front. Government officials and the local community have realised the significance of conservation and are playing their role,” he said.

He added that Nepal’s positive change has impressed the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS). “The ICOMOS is probably helping the UNESCO remove heritage sites of Nepal from the list of endangered monuments.”

The ICOMOS is going to suggest the World Heritage Committee to lift the Kathmandu Valley from the list of endangered monuments at the conference of the World Heritage Committee at New Zealand.