World Heritage Convention: safeguarding our natural heritage

01 July 2009 | News story

At this year’s meeting of the World Heritage Committee in Seville, Spain, two new natural sites were added to the World Heritage List, following the advice of IUCN. Another 11 cultural sites were added to the prestigous list of the most valuable places on Earth.

In order to mobilize international support for the extraordinary places that are facing numerous threats to their preservation, the World Heritage Committee added two natural sites to the List of World Heritage in Danger. Approving IUCN’s recommendation, the Committee also decided not to remove any of the natural sites already identified as endangered from the Danger List.

"Over the last seven days we have witnessed many positive decisions for conservation, “ says Tim Badman, IUCN’s Special Advisor on World Heritage, "Two exceptional natural places have joined the World Heritage List, and the Wadden Sea makes a historic addition as the 200th natural World Heritage Site. But the week also underlines the increasing threats facing World Heritage Sites. The biggest challenge for the future of the Convention is to increase efforts to conserve the sites that are included on the World Heritage List.”

Under UNESCO’s World Heritage Convention of 1972, the World Heritage Committee meets annually to examine the state of conservation of sites on the World Heritage List and review new nominations for inscription. The World Heritage Committee in Seville consisted of representatives from 21countries, elected by the General Assembly of States Parties to the Convention for a period of six years. The following countries are the current members of the Committee: Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Brazil, Canada, China, Cuba, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Morocco, Nigeria, Peru, Republic of Korea, Spain, Sweden, Tunisia and United States of America.

The next meeting of the World Heritage Committee will take place in Brasilia, Brazil in June 2010.

SPOKESPERSONS:
• Tim Badman, IUCN Special Advisor on World Heritage Sites, e tim.badman@iucn.org
• Pedro Rosabal, Senior Programme Officer, IUCN’s Programme on Protected Areas,
e pedro.rosabal@iucn.org
• Tilman Jaeger, IUCN World Heritage Project Management Officer, e tilman.jaeger@iucn.org
• Josephine Langley, IUCN World Heritage Monitoring Officer, e josephine.langley@iucn.org

MEDIA TEAM:
• Borjana Pervan, Media Relations Officer, IUCN, m +41 79 8574072, e borjana.pervan@iucn.org

MATERIALS FOR THE MEDIA:
• Please visit www.iucn.org/worldheritage for press materials, including:
• Press releases on the latest news from IUCN at the World Heritage Committee
• Photo gallery of new natural sites inscribed on the World Heritage List
• Fact sheets on each new natural site inscribed on the World Heritage List
• Downloadable audio interviews with IUCN’s experts

About IUCN

IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges by supporting scientific research; managing field projects all over the world; and bringing governments, NGOs, the UN, international conventions and companies together to develop policy, laws and best practice. IUCN is the independent advisory body to the World Heritage Committee on natural heritage.www.iucn.org