World Heritage site in Germany may be de-listed if bridge is built – UNESCO

14 November 2007

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) warned today that a German court’s decision to authorize the construction of a bridge could lead to the removal of the Dresden Elbe Valley from the World Heritage List of the planet’s outstanding natural and cultural sites.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) warned today that a German court’s decision to authorize the construction of a bridge could lead to the removal of the Dresden Elbe Valley from the World Heritage List of the planet’s outstanding natural and cultural sites.

The erection of the Waldschlössen Bridge over the Elbe River “could irreversibly damage the values and integrity of the Dresden Elbe Valley,” UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura and World Heritage Committee Chairperson Christina Cameron said in a joint statement released in Paris.

“It saddens us that the intense negotiations launched between UNESCO and the national and municipal authorities of Germany have failed to secure the protection of a site so recently inscribed [in 2004] on the World Heritage List.”

The Committee placed the Dresden Elbe Valley on the List of World Heritage Sites in Danger last year and said today that it would review the site’s status at its next session, scheduled to take place in Quebec in July 2008, after receiving a technical assessment of the impact of the bridge’s construction.

About 18 kilometres long, the Dresden Elbe Valley site was inscribed for its “outstanding cultural landscape,” which brings together a combination of baroque and other historic buildings and landscape features in and around the city of Dresden into a parkland setting along the river.

Only one other site has been de-listed since the World Heritage List, which features natural or cultural sites deemed to have outstanding universal value, began in 1978. That was the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary of Oman, which was removed in July this year because of the country’s failure to meet what the Committee said were its conservation obligations. In total, there are currently 851 sites on the World Heritage List.

 

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