Last week, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization convened in Manama, Bahrain, for the 42nd session of the annual World Heritage Committee. Representatives from 21 States Parties were tasked with selecting new World Heritage sites, monitoring the conservation of current sites, and reviewing the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Nominees must meet one of 10 criteria—six cultural and four natural—ranging from Earth's most biodiverse landscapes to artistic works of universal significance. This year, the committee recognized 19 new sites for their “outstanding universal value,” extended the boundaries of Central Sikhote-Alin, a Russian biosphere reserve, and removed the Belize Barrier Reef from the List of World Heritage in Danger. [See UNESCO's 2017 inscriptions.]
“Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations,” according to UNESCO's mission statement. “Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration.”