Mauritius pushes for third UNESCO World Heritage Site

08:29, April 20, 2011      

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Mauritius is pushing for the Black River Gorges as a World Heritage Site (WHS) and has received UNESCO's nod to nominate it on the list.

This was announced by the minister of arts and culture Mookhesswur Choonee at the first official stamp issue for 2011, which included a first day cover with four new stamps and a miniature sheet to promote the cultural heritage of the island, according to the Independent daily on Tuesday.

"The government wants to make Mauritius a cultural destination and the dossier on the Black River Gorges is underway and it will be submitted in 2011 to the world heritage committee," the minister was quoted as saying.

If it meets all the criteria, the Black River Gorges will become the third WHS in the Indian Ocean island country. The two existing WHS are Aapravasi Ghat and Le Morne, which are "cultural sites" like the Ajanta caves in India, the Budhist ruins in Pakistan and the Robben Island in South Africa.

The Black River Gorges falls under the category of World Natural Heritage Site just like the Grand Canyon in the USA and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

The minister also revealed that Mauritius has been recognized by UNESCO as a reference concerning preservation and conservation of heritage sites at the Africa World Heritage Committee held in Dakar, Senegal from April 13-15.

At the meeting, UNESCO experts have not only recognized the Mauritian experience but have also decided to give financial and technical support to the Black River Gorges dossier.

The minister also announced that his ministry was working to register intangible cultural heritage such as the Mauritian "sega typique", Rodriguan "sega tambour", Bhojpuri folklore and traditions and "sega Illois".

"My ministry has made the request to the UNESCO to allow these sites to gain recognition. We are awaiting the decision of the UNESCO committee before moving forward," said the minister.

"Meanwhile, we have already started preliminary works," he added.

Source: Xinhua

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