The final step has now been completed towards nominating the Barberton-Makhonjwa Mountains (BMM) for inclusion on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, reports the Lowvelder.
Though the BMM host other impressive features, the nomination is based on their geology, which specialists say is of outstanding universal value. This is because the world’s oldest, best-preserved, most continuous and diverse sequence of rocks from about 3.215 to 3.570 billion years ago are only found here. This makes the BMM, and its centrepiece, the Barberton Makhonjwa Geotrail, a hotspot for tourists and science enthusiasts interested in learning more about the early earth.
Planning for the future BMM World Heritage Site (WHS) has been completed and sent to the national department of environmental affairs, which is the agency responsible for world heritage in SA. They will send the completed documents, a 100-page nomination dossier and piles of appendices, to UNESCO headquarters in Paris.
This is the fulfilment of a 10-year effort by Barberton Chamber of Business and its development agency, BATOBIC. This milestone could not have been reached without continued state support through MTPA, DEA, SAHRA, provincial and local government. There has been strong support also from all landowners involved, all of whom will be contacted and supplied with a full set of relevant documents.
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There is now a long wait for the very strict and drawn-out UNESCO approval process. This includes an evaluation mission by world experts and reviews by many international specialists to ensure the site is, as claimed, among the best of the best worldwide.
The Evaluation Mission can be expected around October or November. They will be free to speak to anyone for or against the proposal. If the BMM is found to meet the WHS requirements, confirmation will be sent by UNESCO after July 2018.
– Caxton News Service