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Respected Indonesian Professor Calls on UNESCO to Revoke Jatiluwih’s UNESCO World Heritage Status.

Professor Dr. I Wayan Windia is urging the Regency of Tabanan to follow the rules and directives of UNESCO in the management of the World Heritage Site of the Rice Terraces of Jatiluwih. UNESCO has recommended that the Tabanan Administration set up a Management Board to supervise the ancient rice terraces and to ensure that the UNESCO World Heritage Site status is maintained.

As reported by Beritabali.com, Professor Windia also labeled as a top priority for the Jatiluwih Heritage Site that tourism activities in the region be tightly controlled.

Professor Dr. I Wayan Windia

“Most of my recommendation have been given to the Regency of Tabanan and the Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Cultural Affairs (PMK). I also telephoned the Minister’s assistant. And the Governor has suggested that I try to find a middle ground. But I have decide to go ahead and get the needed attention for this matter (from UNESCO),” said Professor Windia.

Earlier, Professor Windia who served as the chairman for the Center for Research on Subaks from Udayana University has been invited to The UNESCO International Water Conference 2019 held in Paris May 13-14, 2019.  In Paris, Windia made a formal presentation on Bali’s traditional subak system of irrigation and water management and made recommendations that the highly-prized World Heritage Status for the Jatiluwih Rice Terraces be withdrawn by UNESCO due to the failure of the local government to safeguard the site.

Professor Windia thinks the UNESCO World Heritage Status is no longer warranted given the poor condition of the area and the Tabanan’s failure to keep its pledges made when the Regency initially sought recognition from UNESCO.

Tabanan had sought UNESCO World Heritage Status for 12 years before finally securing the honor of joining the select circle of worldwide locations singled out for their unique contribution to world heritage and culture. One of the pledges made to UNESCO was that a local management board would be established to safeguard and intelligently manage the panoramic rice terraces.

In response, the Regent of Tabanan, Ni Putu Eka Wiryastuti, expressed her disappointment as what she views as Professor Windia’s one-sided and non-objective assessment of Jatiluwih. She has invited Professor Windia to commence a dialogue and discuss his concerns.

The Regent commented: “Let’s protect and supervise (Jatiluwih) together. But if we only talk in the media we will reach no solution.”

Recently, a controversy erupted over the management of Jatiluwih when managers of the area apparently entered into an agreement with Air Bali to construct a helicopter pad on the rice terraces. The helipad was widely criticized by the Ministry of Tourism and many other circles in Bali who feared UNESCO would use the helipad as a reason to revoke the location’s UNESCO Status.

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