Newly founded civic organization pushes for Alishan to be included in World Heritage List

Kuo said under the current international situation, Taiwan will face stern challenge when trying to push for properties on its territory to be considered for inclusion in UNESCO's World Heritage List, but it’s not totally impossible

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(By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News)—A civic organization lobbying for Alishan’s inclusion in UNESCO’s World Heritage List was founded on Wednesday.

Alishan World Heritage Promotion Alliance chairman Kuo Ying-Liang (郭盈良) said that the organization will engage in efforts to push for the cultural landscapes of Alishan forestry instead of just the forest railways to be included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List.   

Kuo said that among the 1,073 World Heritage sites around the world, 103 of them belong to cultural landscapes, adding that under the current international situation, Taiwan will face stern challenge when trying to push for properties on its territory to be considered for inclusion in UNESCO's World Heritage List, but it’s not totally impossible.  

He said the organization will advocate three areas of Alishan's cultural landscapes--the “industrial area” in Chiayi City, the “Chinese cypress area” on Alishan, and the “railways area” that transported the timber down the mountain.    

Alishan’s forestry industry was the largest in scale in East Asia during the Japanese Occupation Era, and the prosperity of logging had created the development of Chiayi as a city well known for its forestry industry, Kuo said. Even though the local forestry industry has flourished and declined over the last 100 years, its value as a potential World Heritage site has not vanished, he added.    

He said the organization will join forces with local residents, nongovernment organizations, schools, and other civic groups to urge the Ministry of Culture to include the cultural landscapes of the Alishan forestry as a potential site to be submitted to the UNESCO to be considered for inclusion in the World Heritage List    

According to the UNESCO, only countries that have signed the World Heritage Convention, pledging to protect their natural and cultural heritage, can submit nomination proposals for properties on their territory to be considered for inclusion in UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

A legacy lumber production facility in Chiayi City