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Part of Sonian Forest awarded Unesco heritage status
A part of the Sonian Forest to the south of Brussels has been recognised as a natural world heritage site by Unesco, after a joint application by Belgium's three regions.
Brussels, Flanders and Wallonia joined forces to seek the protected status, which applies to a specific area of nearly 400 hectares of beech woodland in the south of the forest, about 10% of its total surface.
A quarter of the Unesco-recognised area is in the Brussels region, while another part, in the Zwaenepoel nature reserve, is managed jointly by Brussels, Flanders and Wallonia.
Wallonia's minister for nature, René Collin said the decision, made at the World Heritage Committee convention in Krakow, Poland was "excellent news".
"It is proof that collaboration between the three regions can bear fruit for the preservation of a common heritage," he said.
Brussels environment minister Céline Fremault added: "It is a wonderful, well-deserved recognition for this exceptional forest."