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I. Kiến thức liên quan


Almost all cultures raise monuments to their own achievements or beliefs, and preserve artefacts and built environments from the past.

There has been considerable interest in saving cultural sites valuable to all humanity since the 1950s. In particular, an international campaign to relocate pharaonic treasures from an area in Egypt where the Aswan Dam would be built was highly successful, with more than half the project costs bore by 50 different countries. Later, similar projects were undertaken to save the ruins of Mohenjoh-daro in Pakistan and the Borobodur Temple complex in Indonesia.

The idea of listing world heritage sites (WHS) that are cultural or natural was proposed jointly by an American politician, Joseph Fisher, and a director of an environmental agency, Russell Train, at a White House conference in 1965. These men suggested a programme of cataloguing, naming, and conserving outstanding sites, under what became the World Heritage Convention, adopted by UNESCO* on November 1972, and effective from December 1975. Today, 191 states and territories have ratified the convention, making it one of the most inclusive international agreements of all time. The UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of representatives from 21 UNESCO member states and international experts, administers the programme, albeit with a limited budget and few real powers, unlike other international bodies, like the World Trade Organisation or the UN Security Council.

In 2014, there were 1,007 WHS around the world: 779 of them, cultural; 197 naturals; and, 31 mixed properties. Italy, China, and Spain are the top three countries by the number of sites, followed by Germany, Mexico, and India.

Legally, each site is part of the territory of the state in which it is located and maintained by that entity, but as UNESCO hopes sites will be preserved in countries both rich and poor, it provides some financial assistance through the World Heritage Fund. Theoretically, WHS is protected by the Geneva Convention, which prohibits acts of hostility towards historic monuments, works of art, or places of worship.

Certainly, WHS have encouraged appreciation and tolerance globally, as well as proving a boon for local identity and the tourist industry. Moreover, the diversity of plant and animal life has generally been maintained, and degradations associated with mining and logging minimised.

Despite good intentions, significant threats to WHS exist, especially in the form of conflict. The Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo is one example, where militias kill white rhinoceros, selling their horns to purchase weapons; and, in 2014, Palmyra – a Roman site in northern Syria – was badly damaged by a road built through it, as well as by shelling and looting. In fact, theft is a common problem at WHS in under-resourced areas, while pollution, nearby construction, or natural disasters present further dangers.

But most destructive of all is mass tourism. The huge ancient city of Angkor Wat, in Cambodia, now has over one million visitors a year, and the nearby town of Siem Reap – a village 20 years ago – now boasts an international airport and 300 hotels. Machu Picchu in Peru has been inundated by tourists to the point where it may now be endangered. Commerce has altered some sites irrevocably. Walkers along the Great Wall near Beijing are hassled by vendors flogging every kind of item, many unrelated to the wall itself, and extensive renovation has given the ancient wonder a Disneyland feel.

In order for a place to be listed as a WHS, it must undergo a rigorous application process. Firstly, a state takes an inventory of its significant sites, which is called a Tentative List, from which sites are put into a Nomination File. Two independent international bodies, the International Council on Monuments and Sites, and the World Conservation Union evaluate the Nomination File and make recommendations to the World Heritage Committee. Meeting once a year, this committee determines which sites should be added to the World Heritage List by deciding that a site meets at least one criterion out of ten, of which six are cultural, and four are natural.

In 2003, a second convention, effective from 2008, was added to the first. The Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage has so far been ratified by 139 states – a notable exception being the US. Aiming to protect traditions rather than places, 267 elements have already been enshrined, including Cambodia’s Royal Ballet; the French gastronomic meal; and, watertight-bulkhead technology of Chinese junks.

The World Heritage Committee hopes that the states that agree to list such elements will also promote and support them, although, once again, commercialisation is problematic. For instance, after the French gastronomic meal was listed in 2010, numerous French celebrity chef used the designation in advertising, and UNESCO debated delisting the element. The US has chosen not to sign the second convention due to implications to intellectual property rights. As things stand, with the first treaty, the US has far fewer nominated sites than its neighbour Mexico, partly because some Mexican sites are entire towns or city centres, and the US has no desire for its urban planning to be restricted by world-heritage status. St Petersburg, in Russia, which has its entire historic centre as a WHS, introduced strict planning regulations to maintain its elegant 18th-century appearance, only to discover thousands of minor infringements by owners preferring to do what they pleased with their properties. With intangible elements, changes over time, due to modernisation or globalization, may be greater than those threatening buildings. Opponents of the second convention believe traditions should not be frozen in time, and are equally unconcerned if traditions dwindle or die.

Although the 1972 World Heritage Convention lacks teeth, and many of its sites are suffering, and although the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage has proven less popular, it would seem that the overall performance of these two instruments has been very good.

*The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation, based in Paris, France.

Questions 28-31
Look at the following statements and the list of countries below. Match each statement with the correct country, A-F, below. Write the correct letter, A-F, in boxes 28-31 on your answer sheet.

28. It has the most world heritage sites.

29. Mass tourism has seriously threatened one of its sites.

30. Two men from here put forward the idea of a convention.

31. There was international support for a project here prior to the convention.

List of countries

A. Pakistan

B. the US

C. Italy

D. China

E. Peru

F. France

Questions 32-35
Complete the flowchart below. Choose ONE WORD OR A NUMBER from the passage for each answer. Write your answers in boxes 32-35 on your answer sheet.

Luyện đề World heritage destination

Questions 36-40
Complete each sentence with the correct ending, A-G, below. Write the correct letter A-G, in boxes 36-40 on your answer sheet.

36. The Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage is designed to

37. The World Heritage Committee worries about

38. The US refused to sign the 2003 convention due to concerns about

39. Russian property owners have been annoyed by what they see as

40. Critics of the 2003 convention are not disturbed by

A . changes to or disappearance of traditions.

B. price rises due to world-heritage listing.

C. over-regulation connected to the world-heritage listing.

D. protect traditions.

E. protect built environments.

F. intellectual property rights.

G. the commercial exploitation of listed traditions.

III. Đáp án


  • 28. C
  • 29. E
  • 30. B
  • 31. A
  • 32. Tentative
  • 33. bodies
  • 34. 1/one
  • 35. culture
  • 36. D
  • 37. G
  • 38. F
  • 39. C
  • 40. A

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