Category: Ifugao.

World Heritage Committee recognizes threats to the Ifugao rice terraces

By Vency D. Bulayungan

LAGAWE, Ifugao, Feb. 24 (PIA) – The World Heritage Committee in Brazil recognizes the significant progress made by the state party in addressing the threats that put the Ifugao Rice Terraces (IRT) in the UNESCO’s list of World Heritage in Danger.

This was bared by Nilo Manangan, the project development assistant of the provincial government here. The state party refers to the Philippine government, the Ifugao provincial government, and stakeholders.

According to Manangan, a joint Reactive Monitoring Mission composed of the World Heritage Centre (WHC), International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) will visit the four heritage sites here on March 14-25.

Manangan disclosed that this will be the reckoning period wherein the state of the IRT will be known whether it will be delisted from the list of world heritage in danger because the UNESCO has given the state party 10 years to rehabilitate it.

The IRT was put in the said list in danger in 2001, six years after it was inscribed by UNESCO in the List of the World Heritage Sites for its outstanding universal value.

Among the threats that put IRT in the said list are: lack of full government support to the special bodies created and need for more resources, greater independence, and assurance of permanence; About 25-30 percent of the terraces are now abandoned which has led to damage to some of the walls, aggravated by pest species of worms and snails; irregular development has taken place that threatens to erode the heritage landscape; little progress has been made in addressing the needs for tourism such as access from Manila and within the property remains poor.

Manangan averred that in its 32nd and 33rd sessions, the WHC came up with the decision that the state party should implement corrective measures to remove the IRT from the list in danger.

In order for the property to be removed from the list of world heritage in danger, the states party should achieve a desired state of conservation as follows: Landscape restoration and conservation such as restoration through community efforts of at least 50 percent of the collapsed terrace walls; adoption of conservation guidelines for each of the five priority heritage cluster sites; documentation and rehabilitation of major irrigation systems in the five priority heritage cluster sites.

Another is the protection and planning wherein national government policies and laws enacted for the preservation of natural resources; adopt guidelines, including environmental impact assessment procedures, and infrastructure guidelines, for the implementation of major projects; and implementation of community based land use and zoning plan projects in all sites.

In line with management, functioning management agencies at the provincial and municipal levels with adequate resources and functional rice terraces owners organizations in place in five priority heritage cluster sites. “Significant progress has been achieved on the corrective measures as stipulated in the 2010 state of conversion report,” Manangan said.

He added that it is in this light that the world heritage committee requested the state party to invite joint reactive monitoring mission to the property to validate the implementation of the corrective measures. (PIA CAR, Ifugao)

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Category: Ifugao