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Bid for UNESCO World Heritage designation deferred one year

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The Bloodvein River is in part of the area of boreal forest in the bid to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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The Bloodvein River is in part of the area of boreal forest in the bid to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Mount Fuji in Japan looks like it will get the nod, but the east side of Lake Winnipeg will not — at least not yet.

A UNESCO advisory committee has recently recommended that the bid to have the area, known as Pimachiowin Aki, declared a world heritage site be deferred for at least a year.

Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh said today the committee requires more details to determine whether the 33,400-square kilometre area qualifies for the designation. http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/1936/

The International Council on Monuments and Sites, a body affiliated with UNESCO, said in a report this week that while it considers that the nomination "might have the potential to demonstrate outstanding universal value for its cultural values" the cultural criteria needs to be further developed.

"The inability of the state party to do this within the limited timeframe available within the evaluation process suggests that more time and dialogue is essential," the report said.

"This nomination raises fundamental issues in terms of how the indissoluble bonds that exist in some places between culture and nature might be recognized on the World Heritage List for the cultural value of nature."

The project is a collaboration of five First Nations and the Manitoba and Ontario governments and is aimed at giving world heritage status for the largest protected-area in the North American boreal shield.

The Manitoba government has committed or spent more than $14 million already on the project. Ontario has also provided funding. The two provinces recently signed a memorandum of understanding to protect and manage the site and surrounding natural resources to strengthen the site’s application.

Manitoba says getting a UNESCO designation would attract tourists from around the world and help protect the environment.

It was reported earlier this week that Japan's iconic Mount Fuji is likely to win recognition as a World Heritage site.

The Agency for Cultural Affairs issued a notice Wednesday saying Mount Fuji had been recommended for World Heritage status by the International Council on Monuments and Sites.

Formal approval is expected in June at a World Heritage Committee meeting in Cambodia.

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