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Germany's Dresden deleted from UNESCO's World Heritage List
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08:11, June 26, 2009

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With four year's warning unheeded, Germany's heritage site in Dresden was deleted on Thursday from UNESCO's (Unite Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's) World Heritage List.

The ongoing 33rd Session of the World Heritage Committee voted to delete Germany's Dresden Elbe Valley from the List due to the building of a four-lane bridge in the heart of the cultural landscape which meant that the property failed to keep its "outstanding universal value as inscribed."

"Every time we fail to preserve a site, we share the pain of the State Party," declared Mara Jess San Segundo, the Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Spain to UNESCO who is chairing the session in Seville.

"We feel the sense of responsibility and sadness" in making the decision, she added at a press conference on Thursday afternoon.

Francesco Bandarin, director of UNESCO's World Heritage Centre, blamed Dresden's removal on the "unsuccessful interchange" between UNESCO experts and Germany, in particular the unwillingness on the part of the German authorities to listen to UNESCO's warnings in the past four years.

U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel look up during a visit to the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) in the eastern German city of Dresden, June 5, 2009. (Xinhua/Agencies Photo)

"They have kept the same route as from the beginning," and demonstrated no capacity to listen and change, said Bandarin, who admitted nonetheless it had been a very difficult decision to make.

Dresden was inscribed as a cultural landscape in 2004. The Committee said that Germany could present a new nomination relating to Dresden in the future. In doing so, the Committee recognized that parts of the site might be considered to be of outstanding universal value, but that it would have to be presented under different criteria and boundaries.

The 18th- and 19th-century cultural landscape of Dresden Elbe Valley stretches some 18 kilometers along the river from Ubigau Palace and Ostragehege fields in the north-west to the Pillnitz Palace and the Elbe River Island in the south-east. The property, which features low meadows, and is crowned by the Pillnitz Palace as well as numerous monuments and parks from the 16th to 20th centuries in the city of Dresden, was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2006 because of the planned Waldschlosschen Bridge.

Dresden is only the second property ever to have been removed from the World Heritage List. Oman's Arabian Oryx Sanctuary was delisted in 2007.

However, as the Oman site had been deleted at the request of its own government after oil was discovered underneath, the Dresden site was delisted against the will of Germany.

The 21 members of the World Heritage Committee are meeting in Seville from June 22 to 30 to review the state of conservation of properties inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List and nominations for new inscriptions of cultural and natural sites on the List.

New sites are expected to be announced from Friday.

Source: Xinhua

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