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Bali’s Subak Named to UNESCO List

UNESCO Announcement Ends 12-Year Struggle to Obtain ‘World Heritage Cultural Site’ Status from UNESCO for the Bali Subak System

(5/20/2012) Radar Bali reports that Bali's efforts to have the “Bali Cultural Subak Landscape (BCSL)” entered into the list of World Cultural Heritage Sites maintains by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) have borne positive results.

The recognition of Bali’s unique water distribution and rice cultivation “subak system" by UNESCO was announced to the press by the head of Bali’s Cultural Service, Ketut Suastika on Sunday, May 20, 2012.

Suastika said he was contacted at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday morning by I Gede Pitana of the Ministry of Tourism and the Creative Economy confirming the appointment to the Unesco’s list of “World Cultural Heritage Site.”

Said Suastika, “This is a wonderful achievement, because he have managed to realize our dream to be recognized as a part of the world’s heritage.”

He explained the BCSL is an organization of a number of subak under the shared philosophy of Tri Hita Karana – the Balinese view that a careful balance must be maintained between Man, Nature and the Almighty. The BCSL incorporates 14 different subak in the region of Penebel and encompasses Lake Bratan, Lake Buyun and Lake Tamblingan. Also included are the areas surrounding the Taman Ayun Temple, the Pekerisan River system, the Gunung Kawi Temple, Mengening Temple, Tirta Empul and the 3 subak of Suluban Atas, Suluban Bawah and Suluban. The iconic Ulan Batur Temple also forms a part of a total area that covers 7,000 hectares now known as the Bali Cultural Subak Landscape (BCSL) entered onto the books of UNESCO.

The fight for UNESCO recognition has consumed 12 years, including past refusals by UNESCO citing poor preparation and planning needed to World Heritage Site status.

A November 2011 visit by the Secretary-General of UNESCO finally paved the way for the official recognition confirmed on May 20, 2012.

A formal ceremony marking BCSL’s recognition as a World Heritage Cultural Site will take place in St. Petersburg, Russia on June 20, 2012.