WARSAW, July 2 (Xinhua) -- The World Heritage Committee's 41st session is opened by Polish President Andrzej Duda and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova on Sunday evening in the southern Polish city of Krakow.
It is a great honour for Poland to host for the first time a session of UNESCO's World Heritage Committee, said Duda at the opening ceremony in Krakow's Wawel castle, one of the sites inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List.
Krakow owes a lot to UNESCO as the city was "dying before our eyes" due to untamed industrial expansion, said Duda. He thanked the committee for its involvement in rescuing the city in the 1970s.
Duda also expressed his hope that Polish experts would help reconstruct the Syrian city of Aleppo, quoting the example of the successful reconstruction of Warsaw's Old Town. The Polish president reminded the session participants that Warsaw's reconstructed Old Town was put on the heritage list in 1980, stressing that the entire nation had contributed to its restoration.
For her part, Bokova stressed that international efforts are needed to preserve heritage. "The World Heritage Site list is not only a list of beautiful places -- it is a vision of peace eroded in stone and cultural landscapes, "said Bokova.
The session will last from July 2 to 12 and is chaired by Jacek Purchla, founder and director of the International Cultural Centre in Krakow. About 3,000 people have confirmed their participation.
During the session, 34 nominations for inscription on the World Heritage List will be assessed, including seven natural sites, 26 cultural sites and one mixed site.
Apart from discussion on this matter, the Committee will also review the state of conservation of 99 World Heritage sites and of 55 sites inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger.