Rice terraces officially removed from heritage sites 'danger list'

The Banawe Rice Terraces is officially off the list of world heritage sites in danger, the United Nations Information Center in Manila said Wednesday.

Quoting the World Heritage Committee, UNIC said the Rice Terraces—a picturesque stairs of rice paddies built by Ifugao ancestors some 2,000 years ago—has been removed from the "List of World Heritage in Danger."

Apart from the Rice Terraces, Pakistan's Fort and Shalamar Gardens had been taken off the danger list, added UNIC.

"The World Heritage Committee commended the Philippines and Pakistan for the  conservation measures that were successfully implemented in the respective sites," the UN statement added.

"The preservation of the Rice Terraces required better management and development plus the country also needed increased national and international support. Both actions were successfully undertaken, leading to the conservation of the remote high rice fields," UNIC added.  

In 1995, the Rice Terraces was included in the World Heritage List "as an outstanding cultural landscape" but was put on the Danger List in 2000, "following a request from the Philippine government."

The UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) had said Ifugao Rice Terraces have become endangered because of earthworms and rats that burrow along the walls of the rice paddies. Typhoons have also contributed to the destruction.

Mining activities in the area also posed threats, Senator Loren Legarda said in March.

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