The 2014 Watch features 67 sites in 41 countries and territories (see below and attached), dating from prehistory to the twentieth century. It includes both the famous (Venice, Italy) and the little-known (Pokfulam Village, Hong Kong (SAR), China); the urban (Yangon Historic Center, Myanmar) and the remote (Gran Pajatén, in Peru); the ancient (Ancient Irrigated Terraces of Battir, in the Occupied Palestinian Territories) and the modern (the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, in St. Louis, Missouri).
The 2014 list reflects a number of distinct preservation challenges, including conflict and catastrophe, lack of resources, development pressures (urban, rural, tourism), and loss of cultural traditions. While these are longstanding issues, their persistence is an ever-growing cause for concern. The 2014 Watch serves as a call to action, bringing the fragility of the sites and the dangers they face to international attention. It also identifies opportunities for local communities to work together with the larger preservation community, government organizations, corporate sponsors, and others to help ensure their future. For some sites, inclusion on the Watch presents the best hope for their survival.
Ms. Burnham stated, “The 2014 Watch presents a selection of monuments from around the world in need of both new economic resources and innovative ideas about how to preserve them for future generations. These sites—and countless others like them—recount our human history and highlight our achievements. It takes vigilance to keep them active in the world; yet it is often the case that the very places that provide rich character and texture to our lives need more assistance and attention than they are given.
“We remain deeply grateful to American Express, founding sponsor of the World Monuments Watch, for its ongoing support of World Monuments Fund and the Watch program. For more than twenty years, the company’s grants have made a critical difference to the preservation of more than 150 individual heritage sites.”
Timothy J. McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation, said, “We’re delighted to promote and enable the preservation of these endangered treasures, and have contributed $15 million to World Monuments Fund since 1996. Historic preservation is something that we are very passionate about at American Express. We have traveled the globe with our customers over the past 160 years, and we want to ensure our world’s incredibly rich history can be experienced for many years to come.”
2014 Watch Sites—Highlights
The need for better stewardship of heritage sites cuts across geography, time, and types of places. Drawn from five continents, the 2014 sites range from cultural landscapes and archaeological remains to historic city centers and religious structures. A number of highlights are described below; more detailed descriptions of all 67 sites may be found in the press kit and at www.wmf.org/watch.