The 27th Session of the World Heritage Committee was held from 30th June to 5th July at the Head Office of UNESCO in Paris. A delegation from China consisting of over forty people and including President of the Cultural Institute of the Macao SAR Government, attended the sessions.

    During the opening ceremony, UNESCO Director-General Konchiro Matsuura call on every country to help protect the shared heritage of all humankind.

    Zhang Xinsheng, Vice-Minister for Education of the People’s Republic of China and Head of UNESCO’s Chinese National Committee, thanked the member states for their understanding and support since the meeting, originally scheduled to take place in Suzhou, China, had to be moved to Paris due to the outbreak of SARS.

    The “Three Parallel Rivers” natural heritage site in Yunnan Province was put forward by China for this year’s selection and won approval from the members. The extension sites of “13 Ming Tombs” in Beijing, and the “Ming Xiaoling Tomb” in Nanjing were also added to the List of World Heritage as additional items to the “Ming and Qing The “Koguryo Tomb Complex” in Liaoning Province was accepted by the World Heritage Committee as China’s top priority for 2004, which “The Historic Monuments of Macao” are due to top China’s list for 2005.

    The Central Government of the People’s Republic of China submitted Macao’s bid to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre in 2002, and it succeeded in being accepted after a technical analysis by the Centre. The efforts put into preparing the application have gained very positive results so far.

    The 27th Session of the World Heritage Committee approved a total of 754 items for inclusion in the List of World Heritage. 582 of these are classified as Cultural Heritage, 149 as Natural Heritage, and 23 as Mixed Heritage. Spain, with 38 listed items, is the state with the greatest number of inscribed World Heritage sites, while Italy runs a close second with 37 items. China, with 29 sites, comes third.

    Following the closing of the 27th Session of the World Heritage Committee, Zhang Xinsheng was appointed Chair of the 28th Session which will take place in Suzhou, China, starting on 28th June 2004.

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