SOSSUSVLEI, 08 APR – The Minister of Education, Arts and Culture, Katrina Hanse-Himarwa on Friday inaugurated the Namib Sand Sea at Sossusvlei in the Hardap Region as a World Heritage site.
The site, situated within the Namib-Naukluft National Park, was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2013 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco).
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Hanse-Himarwa said it is an important site for Namibia and the world at large, with outstanding universal values on the prestigious World Heritage List which accounts for 200 sites to date.
Hanse-Himarwa emphasised that the inauguration was long overdue since the site was officially inscribed in 2013, due to the processes between the nominating member state and the World Heritage Committee.
“The inauguration will boost tourism flow to the site since it holds universal values to humanity,” said Hanse-Himarwa.
At the occasion, Unesco Country Representative Dr Jean Pierre Ilboudo said the organisation identifies sites which are of special cultural or physical significance.
“Unesco describes these sites as irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration and as a result we protect and preserve the sites around the world that are considered to be of outstanding value to humanity,” he said.
Ilboudo noted that the site has met all the criteria to be listed as a world heritage site, which are amongst others containing superlative natural phenomena and aesthetic importance and to be outstanding examples representing major stages of Earth’s history. These include the record of life, significant ongoing geological processes and to contain the most important natural inhabitants for in-situ conservation of biological diversity.
The Namib Sand Sea is the only coastal desert in the world that includes extensive dune fields influenced by fog, covering an area of three million hectares.
The site is the second world heritage site in Namibia after Twyfelfontein in the Kunene Region, which is home to the world’s largest concentration of rock art. It was inscribed on the World Heritage Site List in 2007.
The site was handed over to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism as the custodian of maintaining natural protected environments.