UNESCO in it’s 37 annual session, bestowed the status of “Outstanding Universal Value” on 5 natural sites and 14 cultural locations. Included is Japan’s Mount Fuji and Italy’s Mount Etna, the Forts of Rajasthan in India, and the Namib Sand Sea in southern Africa.
Also joining the list were the Medici Villas and Gardens in Tuscany, Tehran’s Golestan Palace, the Wooden Tserkvas (some of the oldest Greek churches of the area) of the Carpathian region of Poland and Ukraine.
The UNESCO World Heritage Comittee annually selects sites based on the following criteria:
● To contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance;
● To be outstanding examples representing major stages of Earth’s history, including the record of life, significant ongoing geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features;
● To be outstanding examples representing significant ongoing ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, freshwater, coastal, and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals;
● To contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.