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INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP ON THE DESIGNATION OF THE IRAQI MARSHLANDS AS A UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE

Nomination of Iraqi Marshlands as World Heritage SiteWithin the UNEP UNESCO joint project “World Heritage inscription process as a tool to enhance natural and cultural management of Iraqi Marshlands Phase II”, UNESCO Iraq Office organized, on 18 and 19 February 2012, in Amman, Jordan, the second of a series of three workshops for members of the two national drafting teams, cultural and natural, for

  • Defining the Outstanding Universal Values (OUVs) of the site

  • Identifying existing documentation gaps

  • Identifying issues relating to the integrity and authenticity of the values.

The process of World Heritage nomination is seen as a means to provide incentives and guidance for the development of a sustainable management regime for the marshes in general.

The workshop, facilitated by Tarek Abulhawa, consultant on the preparation of mixed World Heritage nomination files, and Haifa Abdul Halim, regional focal point for World Heritage at IUCN-ROWA, gathered 29 participants from:

  • Ministry of Environment

  • Ministry of Water Resources

  • Ministry of Planning

  • Museum of Natural History at Baghdad University

  • State Board of Antiquities and Heritage

  • UNESCO

  • UNDP

  • UNEP.

Dr. Ali Al Lami, advisor to the Ministry of Environment, highlighted four World Heritage criteria the Iraqi Marshlands could potentially meet.

Participants were introduced to

  • the criteria for World Heritage sites

  • Statements of integrity and authenticity

  • Basic requirements of management plans for mixed heritage sites.

Natural and cultural criteria were discussed one by one and the participants highlighted the criteria the marshes could potentially qualify under. The issue of documentation was also thoroughly discussed together with the need to collate existing data to prepare maps of the natural and cultural values to help define the boundaries of the site.

The participant decided to have the next workshop in May 2012. Meanwhile the members of the two teams will collect information and develop the description of the value under each selected each criterion. UNESCO and IUCN will send more supporting documents and more information in Arabic on how to prepare the nomination file.