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Order of Architects calls on Gov't to push on Rosia Montana application procedure on World Heritage List

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The Romanian Order of Architects (OAR) calls on the Government to continue the procedure for inscribing the Rosia Montana site on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

"The Historical Mining Site of Rosia Montana is due to enter the debates of the World Heritage Committee in July 2021, following the resumption of the procedure for the inscription in the UNESCO World Heritage List at the beginning of 2020. However, worrying signals have appeared in the public space that this return before the Committee is again at risk. Consequently, the Romanian Order of Architects, which had proposed to the Minister of Culture since 2007 the inclusion of the site in the World Heritage List and supports responsible progress and the capitalization of the exceptional cultural and natural heritage from Rosia Montana, call on the Government not to repeat the mistakes of the Romanian State in 2018, when the inscription procedure for the World Heritage List and the List of World Heritage in Danger was halted in an unworthy and unjustified way," OAR maintains in an open letter to the Government.

According to OAR, Rosia Montana and Romania lost precious time through the postponements caused by the "irresponsible actions" of the Government, which in 2018 asked the Committee meeting in Manama, in Bahrain, to overturn Romania's nomination.

The Romanian Order of Architects expressed concern that the current Government is "on the verge of repeating previous mistakes" and drew attention to the fact that, unlike 2018, Romania may not receive a "return" solution from the Committee, but a withdrawal.

In the opinion of OAR, it is all the more serious as the very term "withdrawal" is circulated in the public space, which in the terms of the Convention is tantamount to waiving the nomination. A new nomination of Rosia Montana for inclusion in the World Heritage List, if it ever gets the Committee's attention again, will have to be re-evaluated, OAR reported.

"The argument according to which the inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List of Rosia Montana will lead to the endangerment of Romania's victory in the international arbitration file no. ARB/15/31 pending before ICSID in Washington, an argument invoked by our country in 2018 to call on the World Heritage Committee to postpone the analysis of the file, is not well-founded. The international recognition of the special cultural value of the site, proposed by ICOMOS, the specialized scientific body consulted by UNESCO for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List, dismantles the mining company's allegations, including within the ICSID process, accusations according to which the historical monument protection regime, according to the national legislation, was maintained by Romania in order to block the mining project," is the opinion of the OAR.

According to the Romanian Order of Architects, the recognition of the value of the site by the World Heritage Committee will prove that the accusations of Gabriel Resources LTD and Gabriel Resources (Jersey) LTD of arbitrary violation by Romania of their rights, by protecting the Rosia Montana site, are unfounded.

"Prior to the suspension of the inscription process, the World Heritage Committee was to consider not only the inscription of Rosia Montana on the World Heritage List, but also its inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger, a status that would increase the chances of the historical monument obtaining international funding for protection. The suspension of the registration process by Romania has only maintained the risk of the Rosia Montana heritage's physical disappearance, and a new postponement further deepens this danger," OAR pointed out.

The inscription in the UNESCO World Heritage List can attract direct international funding for conservation - restoration works, OAR added. 

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