RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Brazilian colonial city of Paraty, on the south coast of Rio de Janeiro, is among the 36 candidates from all over the world this year hoping to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Six natural, 28 cultural and two mixed heritage sites can be added during a meeting this week in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, to the more than 1,092 locations in 167 countries that already benefit from this title for its outstanding universal worth.
At the opening ceremony of the World Heritage Committee held on Sunday, the Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, praised the existing enthusiasm for heritage and “its exceptional ability to unite people,” according to a statement.
Among other cultural sites that are a step away from being recognized is the Transisthmian Route of Panama, which according to Unesco played a central role in the Spanish colonial system in the Americas from the sixteenth century, the cultural landscape of Risco Caído and the sacred mountains of Gran Canaria, in Spain.
There are also works by the acclaimed American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the main masters of 20th-century architecture, the submerged city Port Royal in Jamaica and the archaeological remains of the town of Liangzhu in China.
Among the mixed sites, Brazil will stand up for Paraty, a small town designed over 500 years ago by the Portuguese colonizers and home to an impressive heritage, while simultaneously being an exquisite natural and cultural site.
Being on this prestigious list of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) can boost tourism and facilitate economic aid for its conservation.
The debates on the new nominations presided over by the World Heritage Committee — made up of representatives of 21 countries– will run until July 10th.
The committee will also examine the state of conservation of those already on the list. Five of them could be reclassified to the “endangered heritage” category, including the islands and protected areas of the Gulf of California in Mexico.
If this group of islands, islets and coastal areas located in northwestern Mexico is included in the list, it should undertake further efforts in the conversation of marine fauna, particularly the vaquita, a species endemic to this area.
It is estimated that there are only about ten specimens of this toothed cetacean in the wild.
In turn, Chile will request the removal of the Humberstone and Santa Laura plants from the red list, where they have been since 2005.