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Thursday, June 30, 2022

UNESCO director says tentative list ‘important step’ for inscription

The Government of India has also submitted nomination for the Gujarati garba under UNESCO's intangible cultural heritage list, the possibility of which getting the tag is "very real", Eric Falt said.

Written by Ritu Sharma | Ahmedabad |
May 19, 2022 4:53:19 am
UNESCO director Eric Falt with Union Minister of State for Culture Meenakshi Lekhi. (Twitter/M_Lekhi)

Two sites from Gujarat —Little Rann of Kutch and the Port City of Lothal — being on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites is an “important step” towards inscription on the list, UNESCO Director Eric Falt said. These two are among the around 30 sites from India on the tentative list.

“The tentative list is very important. The tentative list is prepared by the Government of India. There is no input from UNESCO in anyway so it is the choice of the Government of India. It is the first stage towards an inscription on the World Heritage list but also it is a very long journey, say for example in the case of Ahmedabad World Heritage city or Rani Ki Vav. It can take ten years or may be more. This is the first step. There are around 30 or 40 sites on the tentative list from India. We can get only one site per country per year if you are successful,” Eric Falt told The Indian Express on the sidelines of the three-day Vadnagar International Conference inaugurated Wednesday at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar.

The position of the country’s tentative list does not automatically ensure that this site will actually acquire World Heritage status but it is certainly a first and solid step, a step towards a possible inscription, Falt said naming the Indian wild ass sanctuary in Little Rann of Kutch and the Port City of Lothal.

The Government of India has also submitted nomination for the Gujarati garba under UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage list, the possibility of which getting the tag is “very real”, Falt said.

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“That is, again, a long process, but quite clearly, the possibility that it would be nominated is very real. It would happen next year because it is not such a long process, it will happen next year in 2023 at the next meeting of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Committee.,” Falt revealed.

When asked on the reasons for restriction of one inscription per country per year, Falt said, “It is not a decision secretariat representative like me to make. I have absolute zero influence this is decided potentially by the World Heritage Committee.”

“The members of the World Heritage Committee are the representative of 24 member states who meet every year. Something that we had noticed was that there were some countries that were inscribing more sites than others… That’s why it was a decision to restrict, for instance, representation from Europe, which has slightly more but not much more than India…,” he said.

Earlier, during the inauguration, highlighting the restriction on inscriptions, Union Minister of State for External Affairs and Culture suggested Eric Falt, “It need not be encouraged especially when considering the vastness of India, considering the diversity which India has to offer and considering the timeline which India has to offer. This may not be reduced because many other countries at one time or the other have inscribed 10 sites in one year, or more than that or less than that. Whereas, India was just sending one entry per year,” Lekhi said.

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