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‘Climate change full frontal attack on world heritage’

The single biggest challenge facing the conservation of world heritage is climate change,as it threatens the culture and way of life for many countries,International National Trusts Organization chairman Simon Molesworth said.

The single biggest challenge facing the conservation of world heritage is climate change,as it threatens the culture and way of life for many countries,International National Trusts Organization (INTO) chairman Simon Molesworth said.

Molesworth was invited by the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) to speak at the 2nd Pupul Jayakar Memorial Lecture,held at the India International Center Annexe on Sunday on the occasion of the World Heritage Day.

World Heritage Day — begun on April 18,1982 by The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and later approved at the 22nd UNESCO General Conference in 1983 — is celebrated to create awareness on the vulnerability of the world’s monuments and sites.

Molesworth,an Australian,led a delegation at the Copenhagen Summit in December last year to press for including world heritage and its conservation as part of the discussions on climate change.

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Terming climate change as a full frontal attack on world heritage,he said the small islands that are threatened by climate change are also in the danger of losing their cultural identity.

The series was initiated in 2009 to celebrate 25 years of INTACH’s existence. INTACH was a concept founded and promoted by former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and activist Pupul Jayakar in 1984,which turned into an NGO and is now creating global awareness on world heritage.

The theme for this year lecture is ‘Heritage of Agriculture’.

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Molesworth who has been at the helm of INTO and has been at the forefront of the battle to conserve sites across the world,also stressed on the need to build international cooperation to address new challenges.

He said the efforts of the movement are now visible as 185 nations – countries that have adopted the 1972 UNESCO World Heritage Convention – are competing to list their monuments and sites as World Heritage Sites. The fact that tourism has increased in these places also is an indicator of the success. “It shows they want to showcase what the world can cherish,” he said.

Molesworth said he was impressed with INTACH’s work. “We live in a world of human endeavour and natural genius. In India,I saw the ingenuity of human skill and imagination. That’s the reason why we have 27 Indian monuments and sites in the list.”

First published on: 19-04-2010 at 02:34:10 am
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