Finland was elected as member of the Unesco World Heritage Committee at the election held in Paris on 19 November. The election was attended by the State Parties to the World Heritage Convention, a total of 190 countries. 12 members were elected to the committee, and they are Philippines, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Croatia, Lebanon, Peru, Portugal, Poland, Finland, Turkey and Vietnam. Finland’s term of office as the member of the committee is four years.
Finland announced its candidature in December 2012 and has been campaigning actively for the membership ever since. “I am very glad that our efforts brought such good results. The election of the World Heritage Committee is one of the most highly esteemed elections within the UN system where also the competition for the seats is among the fiercest. About half of the candidates were elected. I want to thank the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Ministry of the Environment for excellent cooperation in the promotion of Finnish candidature. The personal contribution of Minister of Culture and Sport Paavo Arhinmäki in particular has been significant,” says Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja.
In the future, Finland's representatives in the Unesco World Heritage Committee are Juhani Kostet, Director General of the National Board of Antiquities, and Rauno Väisänen, Director of Natural Heritage Services at Metsähallitus. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs will also participate in the committee work.
One of the main tasks of the World Heritage Committee is to decide which new cultural and natural properties are inscribed on the World Heritage List each year and to monitor the state of the World Heritage Sites. There are currently approximately 1,000 properties on the list, and some 25 new sites are entered each year. These decisions are a target of great attention, because, for example, the World Heritage Site status has great influence for promotion of tourism. Finland has seven World Heritage Sites.
Katri Viinikka, Head of Unit for UN and General Global Affairs, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, tel. +358 40 753 2730;
Anne Huhtamäki, Minister Counsellor, Permanent Delegation of Finland to UNESCO, Paris, tel. +33 777 466 271;
Zabrina Holmström, Counsellor for Cultural Affairs, Ministry of Education and Culture, tel. +358 40 768 1284;
Juhani Kostet, Director General, National Board of Antiquities, tel. +358 40 128 6001; and
Rauno Väisänen, Director of Natural Heritage Services, Metsähallitus, tel. +358 40 045 9574