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UNESCO recommends removing Liverpool from World Heritage Sites, angering locals

Published Jun 22, 2021 8:49 pm

The UN's cultural agency UNESCO has recommended removing Liverpool's waterfront from its list of World Heritage Sites over concerns about overdevelopment, a move that has angered many in the northwestern English city.

The guidance was published by UNESCO ahead of a meeting of its World Heritage Committee, which oversees the coveted accolade, in Fuzhou, China, from July 16 to 31.

In moves that have also caused controversy, it has proposed that sites including Australia's Great Barrier Reef, Venice and Budapest be put on the list of "World Heritage in Danger," meaning they risk being removed entirely.

The UNESCO cited concerns about overdevelopment of Liverpool’s waterfront. 

Participants at the China meeting will take the final decision on the deletion and warning proposals. UNESCO said in a statement last week that the Maritime Mercantile City in central Liverpool is a "property proposed for deletion from the World Heritage List" at the meeting in China.

This series of buildings, warehouses and docks along the waterfront were given World Heritage status in 2004 for what UNESCO said bears "witness to the development of one of the world's major trading centres in the 18th and 19th centuries."

Steve Rotheram, mayor of the Liverpool City Region, described the move as "deeply disappointing."

It also wants to put the Great Barrier Reef in Australia on the list of “World Heritage in Danger.”

"We are proud of our history but our heritage is a vital part of our regeneration," he said in a statement posted on social media. "I'd urge them to take up our invitation to visit rather than taking their decision sat around a table on the other side of the world."

Also proposed for deletion from the list is the Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania. In Europe, the sites being added to the World Heritage in Danger list are Budapest and Venice, which have both been the subject of concerns on development and cruise ship tourism.

"This would be a very serious thing for our country" if Venice was removed, said Italy's Culture Minister Dario Franceschini, underlining the importance of finding long-term solutions to the problem of cruise ship tourism.

Venice has been the subject of concern due to overtourism.

The valley of Kathmandu in Nepal is proposed for inscription on the list of World Heritage in Danger, as is the region around Lake Ohrid in Albania and Macedonia.

Australia said Tuesday that it would strongly oppose a UNESCO recommendation to list the Great Barrier Reef as "in danger" over deterioration caused by climate change.

Also recommended for the in-danger list are the volcanoes of the Russian Pacific region of Kamchatka. (AFP)