The Kagoshima Prefectural Government will host a May 18-21 meeting to discuss conservation of world natural heritage sites, with participants hailing from 14 Asia-Pacific countries, according to Kagoshima Gov. Tatsuro Suga.

The Kagoshima International Conference on World Natural Heritage will be held on Yakushima Island, a world natural heritage site famous for its cedar trees aged up to 3,000 years, as well as in the city of Kagoshima, the governor said.

The meeting, to be cosponsored by the UNESCO World Heritage Center, will also focus on how to develop regions where world natural heritage sites are located while preserving the natural environment.

The participants, chiefly from local governments, plan to adopt a declaration to suggest a future course pertaining to the sites’ conservation and regional development.

The session will mark the first such meeting to be sponsored by a local government, Suga said.

The participants will be from Australia, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Nepal, New Zealand, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.

The 503-sq.-km Yakushima, some 1,000 km southwest of Tokyo, was added to the World Heritage List of UNESCO in 1993, becoming the first world natural heritage site in Japan.