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December 2008

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Scrutinizing the Management of the National Parks with the Altitudes of World Heritage

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A person with altitudes and broadness is never contented with his present position, but would actively take new challenges and strive towards his goals. Now that it has been 24 years since the establishment of the first national park of Taiwan in 1984, new era goals and broadness are especially needed during this shifting period to inspire our national parks to move forward. By this article I suggest that we scrutinize and improve the current management of our national parks with the world heritage standards.
For a site to be listed officially as world heritage, its “outstanding universal value,” i.e. being an outstanding example of natural and/or cultural heritage, well recognized by all contemporary as well as future human beings, should be proposed by the member country to the World Heritage Committee for examination. The member country has to analyze and compare the proposed site against those already in the list with similar characteristics. This world class comparison and is what I mean by “altitudes and broadness' for the management of our national parks.
The standards of world heritage, the “outstanding universal value”, are built on three bases: a) a world heritage site has to meet one or more of the ten “nomination criteria”; b) all natural sites have to pass the “examination of integrity”, and cultural sites the “examination of authenticity”. “Integrity”means having an adequate size to ensure the complete

representation of the significance of the property and not suffering from adverse effects of development; “authenticity” indicates the cultural values truthfully expressed through such attributes as forms, function, spirits and so on; c) the sites should be effectively protected and managed, and the keys include proper legislation, sound managerial and finance plans, effective institutional and staff arrangement, full support from local communities and other stakeholders.
Owing to the promotion of the Council for Cultural Affairs and Ministry of the Interior, a list of twelve potential world heritage sites in Taiwan has been made, and in the list four of the seven national parks are included. Since Taiwan is not a member of the United Nations, we cannot propose a nomination of world heritage yet. However, there are still several factors supporting the possibility of future nomination. These include our government's pursuit of “meaningful participation” in specific international organizations, the fact that the nature of world heritage should surpass national boundaries and political conflicts, and the progress we have been witnessing on the cross-strait relationship. Yet what's more important for the moment is to actively conduct our academic researches, heritage education and management with higher standards, so that the nomination in the future will only be a process of claiming what we deserve.
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Kuang-Chung Lee
Kuang-Chung Lee
PhD of Geography, University College London, UK
Associate Professor, Graduate Institute of Ecology and Environmental Education, National Hualien University of Education.
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