Countries all over the world have been striving for their cultural and natural heritage in order to be well-known worldwide. After revealing their national heritage, these countries have asked them to be put under global protection and submitted to the World Heritage List to be recognized. Myanmar is one of the countries for submitting its national heritage to the World Heritage List.
The First Step
As Myanmar is rich in cultural and natural heritage, the first step must be taken for its heritage to be well-known worldwide and to be well protected. Prehistoric urban civilizations in Myanmar include Hanlin, Beithano and Sri Kestra have already been recognized as World Heritage Sites. A line of writing “ World Heritage” is short, but its status and value is deep and delicate. To keep on preserving our national heritage is not an easy task; future undertakings will get involved with assistance from experts and well-wishers in accordance with “ Heritage of Humanity” leave them behind for posterity.
The Convention concerning the Protection of the World’s Cultural and National Heritage was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO in Paris, France on 16 November, 1972. Myanmar signed the Convention in 1994 for the protection of its cultural and natural heritage.
According to the Convention, the submission of the countries’ cultural and natural heritage to the World Heritage, the protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage will be made by collective efforts of the countries concerned.
World Heritage List
(a) cultural heritage
(b) natural heritage and
(c) mixed properties of culture and nature
For Cultural Heritage, buildings, groups of buildings and locations and regions are included.
For Natural Heritage, natural phenomena , geological , natural and physical changes of areas are included.
For areas of mixed properties, cultural and natural areas are included.
Taking pride in accomplishments
It took 3 -10 years for some countries to get their national heritage recognized on the World Heritage List. It must be endorsed for the value of world standard, integrity and authenticity of national heritage with combination of goodwill and remarkable endurance of authorities concerned. The intense desire of the locals accompanied by respect, acknowledgment, admiration and sympathy from state parties from the World Heritage Committee has brought national heritage on the World Heritage List. The locals are seen to be delighted and all the people of the nation take great pride in their accomplishments.
The cultural and natural areas are required by UNESCO to have Outstanding Universal Value ( O. U.V). It means outstanding or natural importance to the cultural heritage of humanity. That importance which exceeds national levels will be preserved for posterity. In 2004 UNESCO set six norms for cultural heritage and four for the natural, thus leading to a combination of 10 norms in 2005.
The proposed areas or sites from each country must be consistent with at least one of 10 norms.
There six norms for cultural heritage:
(1) Things of unrivalled or classic workmanship
(2) Importance of changing the value of humanity
(3) Showpieces of existing or vanished cultural traditions
(4) Prominent buildings or land areas
(5) Culture created by natural phenomena which has been acknowledged by humanity
6) Prominent events well accepted by existing traditions either by thriving traditions, ideas, beliefs, artistic or literary styles.
If prominent sites or areas are recognized on the World Heritage List, there are many benefits for these sites or areas. Our national heritage of culture can be one of the World Heritage Sites which happen to have an opportunity to be more famous under better protections. That cultural heritage may be given first priority among national heritage.
Emergence of national heritage on the World Heritage List has stimulated interest for international cooperation and protections. A country can have a chance to seek private financial assistance as well as those from the World Heritage Fund. To protect and preserve the cultural heritage at national and regional levels, to manage the tasks by means of mixture of technical and practical experiences and to gain protection of world standard can be carried out for the locals who will have job opportunities in order to raise their standards of living.
Assistance can be obtained for emergency purposes; tourism can be developed on the basis of the country’s cultural heritage. Tourism sectors for the locals, transportation and consumer demands will considerably improve. Local handicraft and its related job opportunities will gradually develop. The locals will enjoy working in full board and lodging. Throwing open to the outside world, they are going to have intelligence and knowledge.
Nowadays, 1092 World Heritage Sites have existed across UNESCO’ 167 countries up to July, 2018: 845 areas of cultural heritage, 209 natural and 38 mixed properties of culture and nature. Myanmar’s old cities of Hanlin, Beikthano and Sri Kestra of Pyu kingdom have been recognized as the World Heritage Sites in Qatar since June, 2014.
Efforts are now being made to submit the Bagan and Mrauk-U regions to the World Heritage List to recognize as the Heritage Sites In Myanmar so that our country’s national pride and innate nature will be known across the world.
Translated by Arakan Sein