Muscat: United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (UNESCO’s) World Heritage Centre would consider including the Sultanate’s ancient city of Qalhat in its World Heritage Property list if Oman submits a supplementary submission before February next year.
Oman had submitted an entry in January this year, but it was rejected after being deemed incomplete, according to a senior official in the UNESCO’s Media Department.
“If Oman decides to submit a completed entry to the World Heritage Centre before February 1, 2017, our advisory bodies will examine the nomination and prepare their recommendations for the 2018 World Heritage session,” the official told Times of Oman.
“The city of Qalhat is there in the tentative list for Oman since 2013,” he added. A Tentative List is an inventory of those properties, which each State Party intends to consider for nomination.
Oman had nominated Qalhat site under the criterion numbers II, III, V and VI.
Under criterion II, a site should exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design. Criterion III states a site must bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilisation, which is living or which has disappeared.
Criterion V relates to an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use, which is representative of a culture (or cultures), or human interaction with the environment, especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change.
As per Criterion VI, a site must be directly or tangibly be associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance.
Till date, Oman has seven properties on the Tentative List, along with the ancient city of Qalhat, which are the Forts of Rustaq and Al Hazm (1988), Halaniyat Islands (2013), Bar al Hakman (2013), the Jebel Samhan Nature Reserve (2013), the Damaniyat Islands Nature Reserve (2013), the Ras al Hadd Turtle Reserve and the Heritage Site of Ras al Jinz (2013), and the Cultural Landscape of Bisya and Salut and its Archaeological Remains (2014).
To figure on the World Heritage List, nominated properties must be of outstanding universal value and meet at least one out of 10 selection criteria, according to the UNESCO’s official website.
Four on the list
Oman already has four properties included in the World Heritage Property list, which are the archaeological sites of Bat, Al Khutm and Al Ayn (1988), Bahla Fort (1987), Land of Frankincense (2000) and the Aflaj Irrigation Systems of Oman (2006).
“Once a site has been nominated and evaluated, it is up to the World Heritage Committee to make the final decision on its inscription. It can also defer its decision and request further information on sites from the state parties,” UNESCO’s website noted.
The World Heritage Committee is an independent body of 21 states that have ratified the World Heritage Convention.
Part of the Committee is replaced every two years, according to the official.