Over the last seven years a private (and for profit) campaign to select "The New 7 Wonders of the World" has been collecting votes from citizens around the world. The campaign, launched by Bernard Weber, aimed to update the list by popular vote. The results have been announced. You might be more surprised by some of the omissions than the inclusions.
The New 7 Wonders of the World
When you Look over the original list of The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World you might notice that most of them no longer exist. So, maybe some revisions are in order, but I'm not sure a popularity contest through voting online and by text messaging is the best way to make these decisions. Although I was personally pleased to see two selections on the new list are from the ancient Americas (Although, I don't feel these top tourist destinations are actually the top "wonders" of the Americas.), shouldn't those that have survived (ie. The Great Pyramid of Giza) get the benefit of the doubt and stay on any new list?
The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
I also want to point out that this newly announced list of wonders, even with all of its hype and attempts at creating an artificial link with UNESCO, has no official standing. There is no connection between UNESCO’s World Heritage program, which aims to protect world heritage, and “The New 7 Wonders” campaign.
UNESCO’s objective and mandate is to assist countries in identifying, protecting and preserving World Heritage. Acknowledging the sentimental or emblematic value of sites and inscribing them on a new list is not enough. Scientific criteria must be defined, the quality of candidates evaluated, and legislative and management frameworks set up. The relevant authorities must also demonstrate commitment to these frameworks as well as to permanently monitoring the state of conservation of sites. The task is one of technical conservation and political persuasion. There is also a clear educational role with respect to the sites’ inherent value, the threats they face and what must be done to prevent their loss.
There is no comparison between Mr Weber’s mediatised campaign and the scientific and educational work resulting from the inscription of sites on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The list of the “7 New Wonders of the World” will be the result of a private undertaking, reflecting only the opinions of those with access to the internet and not the entire world. This initiative cannot, in any significant and sustainable manner, contribute to the preservation of sites elected by this public.