UNESCO – Biosphere Reserves, World Heritage Sites

UNESCO promotes educational and cultural collaboration between countries. It gives recognition to Biosphere reserves, World Heritage Sites, and Cultural Heritages, in order to promote their conservation and legal protection. Here are the details about major initiatives of UNESCO, and entries from India in their various lists.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) is a specialised agency of UN, based in Paris. It promotes international collaboration through educational, scientific and cultural reforms in order to increase universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights.

Activities/Initiatives of UNESCO:

  • Education
    • UNESCO Chairs programme – for inter-university cooperation through knowledge sharing across borders
    • Education for All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report
  • Natural and Cultural Heritage Conservation: UNESCO Designates projects and places of cultural and scientific significance, such as Biosphere Reserves (with the Man and the Biosphere programme (MAB)), World Heritage Sites, Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists. This recognition grants legal protection to a landmark or an area, and promotes significant cultural heritage, by politically motivating national governments to take required steps for their conservation.
  • more
    • (UNESCO/ Guillermo Cano) World Press Freedom Prize
    • Kalinga Prize – for the Popularisation of Science
    • Madanjeet Singh Prize for promoting tolerance
  • more programmes related to – endangered languages, oral heritage, knowledge sharing, information gathering, history archives collection, Memory of the World Programme, cultural peace promotion, Global Geoparks Network. 
  • UNESCO Creative Cities Network (2004) – an initiative to promote cooperation among cities which recognise creativity as a major factor in their urban development.

World heritage sites in India (36)

A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area which is selected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as having cultural, historical, scientific or other form of significance, and is legally protected by international treaties.
view on map on wikipedia
view the list and details on hollidify

UNESCO World Heritage Sites are selected after nomination by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee that comprises 21 members selected from among the 192 signatories to the 1972 World Heritage Convention. India is represented at UNESCO by the Indian National Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO (INCCU) and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists – Elements from India (latest at the top)

  • Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
    • Kumbh Mela
    • Nawrouz – Iranian new year
    • Yoga
    • Traditional brass and copper craft of utensil making among the Thatheras of Jandiala Guru, Punjab
    • Sankirtana – ritual singing, drumming and dancing of Manipur
    • Buddhist chanting of Ladakh
    • Chhau dance – Odisha, Jharkhand, Bengal
    • Kalbelia – folk songs and dances – Rajasthan
    • Mudiyettu – ritual theatre and dance drama of Kerala
    • Ramman – religious festival and ritual theatre of the Garhwal Himalayas
    • Kutiyattam, sanskrit theatre – Kerala
    • Tradition of Vedic Chanting
    • Ramlila, traditional performance of Ramayana
  • List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding
    • There are no elements from India in this list.

Source: https://ich.unesco.org/en/state/india-IN?info=elements-on-the-lists

Biosphere reserves in India:

India has 11 UNESCO designated biosphere reserves and 18 domestically designated biosphere reserves.

The UNESCO recognised biosphere reserves are:

  • Nilgiri (2000)
  • Gulf of Mannar (2001)
  • Sunderban (2001)
  • Nanda Devi (2004)
  • Nokrek (2009)
  • Pachmarhi (2009)
  • Simlipal (2009)
  • Achanakmar-Amarkantak (2012)
  • Great Nicobar (2013)
  • Agasthyamala (2016)
  • Khangchendzonga (2018)

The biosphere reserves designated as such at country level by the union government are:

biosphere reserves plotted on map
Biospheres Reserves in India.

The biosphere reserves in India are demarcated into three inter-related zones: Core Zone, Buffer Zone, and Transition Zone. Core zone is the innermost are the most protected area while the Transition Zone is the outermost and usually does not have a specific delimitation. Human activities like agriculture and settlements are allowed in transition zone in a spirit of cooperation for the conservation of the biosphere reserve.

UNESCO – http://www.unesco.org/new/en/natural-sciences/environment/ecological-sciences/biosphere-reserves/asia-and-the-pacific/india/
Ministry of Environment, Government of India – http://www.moef.nic.in/division/biosphere-reserves
Vikaspedia – http://vikaspedia.in/energy/environment/biodiversity-1/biosphere-reserves-in-india

More related information:

November 2017: Chennai included in UNESCO Creative Cities Network – for its rich musical tradition.

Khangchendzonga National Park (Sikkim) is the only UNESCO mixed heritage site from India, i.e., it is both a natural heritage site, and a cultural heritage site.

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