PHNOM PENH, Cambodia, June 22, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In its review of Canada's Nomination of PimachiowinAki for World Heritage Status, theWorld HeritageCommitteeof the United Nations Educational, Scientific,and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) deferred final decisions until the next World Heritage Committee meeting. UNESCO pointed to "fundamental issues" in the evaluation process that prevented themfrom recognizing the value of "the indissoluble bonds that exist in some placesbetween culture and nature."Itfurtherresolved to, "examineoptions for changes to the criteria and/or Advisory Body evaluationprocessesto address the issues raised by the nomination."
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UNESCO commendedthe Governments of Canada, Manitoba, Ontario and the five aboriginal nations who drafted their nomination. It praised their, "exemplary efforts to develop a nomination that will protect, maintain and restore the significant cultural and natural assets and values associated with Pimachiowin Aki."
Pimachiowin Aki, an aboriginal territory whose name means, "The Land Which Gives Life" inOjibwe,encompasses 33,400 square kilometers (12,895 square miles) of Ashinaabekaboriginal territory in northern Canada within the North American BorealShield,the largest of Canada'sterrestrial eco-zones.Five aboriginal nations:Bloodvein River First Nation, Little Grand Rapids First Nation, PauingassiFirst Nation, Pikangikum First Nation, and Poplar River First Nationhaveoccupied the land formore than 6,000 years.
At this meeting, the nominationdrew praise from other nations throughout the world who acknowledgedthe exceptionality of the site, particularly in regards to its focus on the interrelationshipbetween cultureand nature, and expressed regret at the current inability ofthe process to adequately recognize the value of that relationship.
"TheGovernments of Manitoba, Ontario, and the five First Nations of Pimachiowin Akiare to be commended for seeing the value in forging a new path based onrecognizing not just the value of the landand the indigenous cultures, but theunique relationship between the two," Mathew Jacobson, boreal conservation officer with The Pew Charitable Trusts. "It is our beliefthat ultimately this nomination process will result not only in the inscriptionof Pimachiowin Aki asa World Heritage Site but also in an improved evaluationprocess that is more open to and respectful of the values of all aboriginal people."
This decisionwas made at a meeting of the World Heritage Committee meeting in Phnom Penh,Cambodia. The World Heritage List is maintained byUNESCO, which seeksto encourage theidentification, protection, and preservation around the worldof cultural and natural heritage that is considered to be of outstanding valueto humanity.
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SOURCE The Pew Charitable Trusts