UNESCO ponders new World Heritage sites

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, better known as UNESCO, has announced that it will consider expanding their list of World Heritage Sites when the organization meets in Brazil in a few weeks time. The current list consists of 890 places from around the globe that are considered to have universal appeal for natural or cultural reasons.

There are 41 locations, in 35 countries, up for consideration this year, including first time contenders from Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, and Tajikistan. Kiribati has submitted the Phoenix Islands Protected Area for inclusion on the list, while the Bikini Atoll, a famous nuclear testing zone, represents the Marshall Islands’ hopes for their first World Heritage site. Tajikistan’s spectacular Pamir Mountains could be their first entry as well.

The UNESCO committee will also review the state of 31 of their current sites that have been listed as being in danger. Those sites could be under siege from a number of sources, including environmental concerns, urban development, poor management, increased tourism, wars, or other natural disasters. Last year, Germany’s Elbe Valley was de-listed because a new four-lane bridge was built through the region, while the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary in Oman was dropped because of poor conservation efforts.

The 34th meeting of the World Heritage Committee will take place in Brasilia from July 25 to August 3, with the final rulings on these new locations being decided then.

[Photo credit: Irene2005 via WikiMedia Commons]

Photo of the Day (6.15.10)

Even when you think the world has been completely mapped and charted, this week’s news that Afghanistan is sitting upon $1 trillion worth of minerals proves otherwise. After decades of war and a crippled economy, this could be a very positive turning point for the country. In light of this, I decided to dig up this photo from uncorneredmarket that shows some of Afghanistan’s underestimated natural beauty.

This picture was taken looking into Afghanistan from Tajikistan on the Pyanj River. The Pamir Mountains, which can be seen here, are formed by a junction in the Himalayas and are among the world’s highest mountains.

Do you have photos of a faraway place that few have seen & shared? Share them with us! Submit to our Flickr Pool and it could be the next Photo of the Day!