On June 12, an activity on the theme of “pushing forward sustainable development of world heritage and jointly fostering a community of life for man and nature” was held in Yancheng, Jiangsu Province, as part of the celebrations for the 2021 China Cultural and Natural Heritage Day. Vice Minister of Education Tian Xuejun who is also the Chair of the Chinese National Commission for UNESCO and Chair of the 44th Session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee attended the opening ceremony of the event and delivered a speech via video.
Tian said that this year marked the 50th anniversary of China’s resumption of its legal seat in the UNESCO and the 36th anniversary of its accession to the World Heritage Convention. As a staunch supporter of the UNESCO’s work in world heritage protection, China has made remarkable achievements in heritage conservation and utilization. It now ranks first in the world with Italy in terms of the total number of world heritage sites, and has the largest number of heritage sites in the world that are dual-listed on the World Heritage List for both of their natural and cultural values.
Tian noted that the Migratory Bird Sanctuaries along the Coast of Yellow Sea-Bohai Gulf (Phase I) in Yancheng was the first coastal wetland in China to be granted world heritage status, serving as an example of balance between economic development and ecological protection.
He hoped that, by stimulating dialogues and exchanges, the celebrations could increase consensus on the importance of world heritage protection, kindle the interest of the public – especially young people – on cultural and natural heritage, and inspire innovation in reinvigorating the great diversity of heritage in the country so as to turn it into a never-ending source of creativity and vitality to ensure the sustainable development of the country.
The UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted in 1972, is an international convention with the largest number of states parties, and the World Heritage List and related programs have received wide attention from various countries. China joined the Convention in 1985, and will cooperate with UNESCO in holding the 44th World Heritage Conference in Fuzhou in July this year.