12 countries strive to have beech forests recognised as World Heritage

The procedure to recognise the Sonian Forest as a World Heritage Site is underway. This summer, the three Belgian regions, along with twelve other European countries, will prepare their Nomination Files.

Since the end of January 2015, parts of the Sonian Forest have been included in the shortlist of 33 untouched beech forests. UNESCO wants to complete the European network of authentic beech forests. Earlier, forests in the Carpathians and Germany were already recognised. Aside from the Sonian Forest in Belgium, forests in Albania, Slovenia, Romania, Italy, Poland, Austria, Croatia, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Ukraine and Spain are also eligible for recognition.

Photo de Fort de SoignesSite web

© Frédéric Demeuse

The application for recognition must be submitted at the UNESCO office in Paris by 30 September 2015 at the latest. This autumn, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) will study the submitted applications. Based on their feedback, Belgium will complete its official application. The twelve countries strive for official recognition by 2017.