Bali’s traditional irrigation systems, which underpin the island’s famed rice terrace landscape, are to receive an official UNESCO world heritage listing, an Indonesian official has announced.
Speaking to local media at the weekend Windu Nuryanti, deputy head of the Education and Culture Ministry, said that the status had been confirmed at a UNESCO meeting in Russia on Sunday.
UNESCO officials made several visits to Bali last year to assess the features under consideration for world heritage status.
The visits followed a decade-long effort by the Indonesian government to have subak, Bali’s unique system of cooperative rice terrace irrigation, recognised by the international culture body.
“The subak tradition of Bali has eventually been named as a UNESCO world-heritage activity,” Nuryanti said.
According to Windu, the government has been undergoing a long administrative process for up to 12 years to get subak recognized.
It is hoped that UNESCO listing will help protect Bali’s threatened agricultural landscape, as well as raising the island’s tourism profile.
According to current estimates around 1,000 hectares of rice land is converted to other purposes, particularly tourism development, every year.