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01 September 2013 Seeking to Preserve the Arab Natural Heritage, ARC/WH Centre organizes a workshop on World Natural Heritage
Seeking to Preserve the Arab Natural Heritage, 
ARC/WH Centre organizes  a workshop on World Natural Heritage

As part of its strategy to preserve the natural and archaeological heritage of the Arab countries, the Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage (ARC-WH), in association with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), will organize two workshops in September 2013 on natural heritage in the Arab region. The first workshop, titled "Preparing World Heritage Nominations Lists for Natural Sites" will take place on September 1-5 at ARC-WH, and will cover all aspects of nominating a natural property to the World Heritage List, including identifying the Outstanding Universal Value, comparative analysis, criteria selection and data analysis. The second workshop, will also take place in ARC-WH, on September 7-11, and is titled "Management of Natural World Heritage Sites". This workshop will cover appropriate measures that should be adopted to properly manage World Heritage Sites, which include assessment, monitoring and tourism management.

Delegates from 10 Arab countries, such as Egypt, Iraq, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya , Yemen,  Jordan, Kuwait,  Lebanon  and the Kingdom of Bahrain participated in this workshop, which aims at launching a pioneer regional World Natural Heritage, under the auspices of International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The program main  objectives are to help the Arab countries preserve their world natural heritage sites,  enhance their capacities with regard to world  natural heritage sites, establish Arab regional scientific committee experts in world natural heritage. Cooperation and expertise exchange between IUCN ‘s member states are also top priorities.

 For her part, Ms Haifa Abdulhalim, International Union for the Protection of Nature Regional Coordinator, stressed the need for ARC-WH Centre in the Arab region to help Arab states implement 1972 World Heritage Convention and satisfy its articles and conditions. She added that the  kingdom of Bahrain has played a leading role in supporting the application of the World Heritage Convention and thus, has been successful in its request to host ARC-WH Centre.

Ms Haifa Abdulhalim,  added also that this workshop comes as part of the specialized natural heritage programs in order  to make the natural heritage aspect of the Convention more widely known in Arab countries, particularly to the scientific community and to decision makers in the fields of nature protection . She also calls for  facilitating the access to knowledge about some prominent natural heritage sites in Arab countries that could be worthy of being declared as World Natural Heritage Sites within the requirements of the UNESCO Convention.

Mr. Tareq Abu Al-Hawa, the World Heritage regional expert and second workshop speaker,  congratulated the Kingdom of Bahrain for hosting the  Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage (ARC-WH), considering it as a quantitative leap for the protection of the natural and human world heritage.

Mr. Abu Hawa  argued that  a  new report by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) found that Arab countries should propose more sites for inclusion on the list, as well as managing their existing sites more successfully. World Heritage sites are designed to protect areas of global natural and cultural significance. Currently, there are 6 natural sites in the Arab region on the World Heritage List, Mr. Abu Al-Hawa said, calling for  the Arab countries which did not yet adhere to the Convention to reconsider their position,  and to make full use of their potential natural heritage sites. He also called the Arab world to be part of the world natural  heritage   to help in dissipating the disinterest that many Arab intellectuals show about the value of natural heritage, particularly biodiversity, in the Arab World, and to raise awareness about the necessity of its conservation .

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