UNESCO: World Heritage Committee debate and decision (July 2005)
On 13 July 2005, in response to the three petitions to danger-list the Belize Barrier Reef, Huascaran National Park and Sagarmatha National Park (read the press release) because of climate change, along with the legal report in respect to the Great Barrier Reef (which the Committee treated as a danger-listing petition), an unprecedented debate was held at the UNESCO World Heritage Committee's 29th Session in Durban, South Africa.
The Committee acknowledged the petitions, recognised that "the impacts of climate change are affecting many and are likely to affect many more World Heritage properties" and that "early action" is needed to respond to these threats.
The Committee requested the World Heritage Centre to establish an expert group to review the climate risks to World Heritage Sites and to develop a strategy to assist States Parties to implement appropriate management responses. It further requested that this group report back with a report on predicting and managing the effects of climate change on World Heritage for the 30th Session of the Committee in Vilnius, Lithuania, in July 2006.
The Committee also encouraged UNESCO to do its utmost to ensure that the results about climate change affecting World Heritage properties reach the public at large, in order to mobilize political support for activities against climate change and to safeguard in this way the livelihood of the poorest people of our planet.
This group will meet in Paris on 16-17 March 2006.
For more information
Read the September 2004 press release from CANA and CJP regarding the Great Barrier Reef legal report
Read the press release from Friends of the Earth about the WHC decision
Read the BBC press report: UN investigates Everest threat