Press TV – The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has added Iran’s ancient northern Hyrcanian Forests to its list of World Heritage Sites.
The World Heritage Committee, charged with selecting the UNESCO-recognized sites, made the decision on Friday during its 43rd annual meeting underway in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku.
Taking part in the event, Acting Secretary General of Iran’s National Commission for UNESCO Hojatollah Ayoubi said that the Iranian proposal for such a pick had won a majority of the Committee’s votes.
Ayoubi also offered congratulations on UNESCO’s vote to Iranians, specifically those residing in the country’s northern provinces, which are home to the Hyrcanian woodlands.
The ancient forests date back between 25 to 50 million years and cover an 850 kilometer-long stretch of lush lowland and mountain woodlands spanning Iran’s northeastern and northern regions bordering the Caspian Sea.
In its Friday statement announcing the decision, UNESCO said the forests have “remarkable floristic biodiversity.” The region is also known to be hosting a wide variety of animal species — including 296 bird and 98 mammal species — and some 150 plant species.
Further speaking on Friday, Ayoubi added that the recognition marked yet another expression of respect by UNESCO’s for Iran’s historic and natural heritage,” making reference to the country’s total number of 24 recognized World Heritage Sites.
Ayoubi added that UNESCO made the decision came after its representatives visited a gallery dedicated to the region held by Iran’s National Commission for UNESCO September last year, thanking Iranian artists and film directors for their contribution to the process.
Iran’s National Commission for UNESCO and Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) will soon hold an event to celebrate the recognition and honor those who took part in its arrangement, including the artists,” added Ayoubi.
The 43rd session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee commenced on June 30 and will continue until July 10, gathering as much as 2,500 delegates from more than 180 countries representing foreign states and international organizations.