Govt to ensure effective protection of Ombilin World Heritage site

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Education and Culture Ministry's Director General for Culture Hilmar Farid has confirmed that the government will prepare necessary measures to ensure effective protection of Ombilin, Sawahlunto, that was named a World Heritage site by UNESCO.

Ombilin, situated in Sawahlunto, West Sumatra Province, will be safeguarded from illegal mining activities, he remarked here on Sunday while speaking in connection with a call by the Indonesian Environmental Forum (Walhi) for a total cessation of mining activities in Sawalunto and the adjoining areas.

PT Bukit Asam coal mine company had halted operations in Ombilin, though illegal mining is still rampant in the area.

Farid highlighted the need to better protect Ombilin after it was inscribed on the World Heritage List.

Furthermore, UNESCO will conduct routine checks and evaluation of the government's management of Ombilin, he noted.

"If we are not smart or continue to violate the management regulations, it could be included on the list of World Heritage in Danger, and if we ignore it, it could be omitted from the World Heritage List," he cautioned.

Hence, after Indonesia proposed Ombilin for inscription on the World Heritage List and it was accepted, the government must take stock of the situation by banning illegal mining activities in the area.

The Ombilin coal mining site, built during the colonial rule in Sawahlunto, West Sumatra Province, was declared as a world cultural heritage by UNESCO. The world body officially named the coal mine as a World Heritage site during the 43rd session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee held at the Baku Congress Center in Azerbaijan on Saturday afternoon, Director of Cultural Heritage and Diplomacy of the Education and Culture Ministry Nadjamuddin Ramly had noted on Saturday.

In 2015, Sawahlunto City was nominated for the UNESCO's tentative list of world cultural heritage sites. Since then, protracted discussions have been intensively conducted with domestic and foreign experts and academics in a bid to accrue data and draft supporting documents.

Source: Antara News

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