The United Nations Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, meets each year to choose the latest additions to its World Heritage list.
The World Heritage Committee has announced the introduction of 29 new sites during this year’s meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan. The Committee decides on qualifying sites after satisfying a stringent criteria based on historical and cultural importance, as well as their beauty.
At this year’s meeting of the committee in June and July, heritage sites from iron works in Burkina Faso that date back nearly three millenniums, to the fortified and planned city of Jaipur in India, to the Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan, Unesco has added a broad array of cultural and natural marvels to its World Heritage List. The exciting news for Africa is the announced new site in Burkina Faso – the Tiwêga Furnace.
This property is composed of five elements located in different provinces of the country. It includes about fifteen standing, natural-draught furnaces, several other furnace structures, mines and traces of dwellings. Douroula, which dates back to the 8th century BCE, is the oldest evidence of the development of iron production found in Burkina Faso. The other components of the property – Tiwêga, Yamané, Kindibo and Békuy – illustrate the intensification of iron production during the second millennium CE. Even though iron ore reduction – obtaining iron from ore – is no longer practiced today, village blacksmiths still play a major role in supplying tools, while taking part in various rituals.
South Africa also attends the meeting annually. This year, the SA delegation was attending to matters of other sites conservation status which have to be kept in compliance with the Unesco convention requirements.