What is Involved in Getting WHS Status?

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To secure WHS status for a place, a country must first take an inventory of its significant cultural and natural properties. This is called the Tentative List. It can be updated at any time.

Next, it can select a property from this list to place into a Nomination File. The World Heritage Centre offers advice and assistance to the government authorities in preparing this file, which needs to be as exhaustive as possible, making sure the necessary documentation and maps are included. The UNESCO World Heritage Centre offers advice and assistance to the State Party in preparing this file.

The Arunachala World Heritage Site Initiative can supply information and encouragement, but only government authorities can do the actual nomination. We believe the government authorities submitting Arunachala for nomination should be at the state level of government in Tamil Nadu. They will need to work through the Indian National Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO, which is under the Ministry of Human Resource Development Department of Secondary and Higher Education Government of India, Shastri Bhavan, New Delhi.

If anyone reading this has contacts in Tamil Nadu state government, add a comment to this message or contact the Chief Coordinator at peter.berking@gmail.com.

We are quite confident that Arunachala meets the criteria for WHS status. The most relevant criterion (#6) is: “Is directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance.”

Arunachala meets criteria #6 due to its spiritual significance, and probably also #8, since Arunachala and the hills around it have been documented as some of the oldest geologic formations on earth. Arunachala will definitely qualify as a “Sacred Site”, which is now an object of focus of the WHS program.