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World Heritage Sites Must be Fully Protected

Dr. Susan Lieberman, WCS Vice President, International Policy

WCS Works Globally to Maintain the Integrity of 32 World Heritage Natural Sites

Sydney Australia (November 18, 2014)
—The Wildlife Conservation Society and eight leading international conservation organizations (African Wildlife Foundation, Fauna & Flora International, Frankfurt Zoological Society, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, The Nature Conservancy, The WILD Foundation, WWF, and the Zoological Society of London) are calling for governments to ensure they do not allow commercial extractive activities – including oil and gas extraction and mining—in World Heritage Sites.

The joint ‘no-go’ and ‘no-impact’ statement will be presented at the IUCN World Parks Congress today in Sydney, Australia.

World Heritage natural sites are facing multiple threats, including from commercial extractive activities (mining, gas and oil exploration).

The resulting environmental impacts, which include wildlife population declines, deforestation, topsoil contamination and water pollution, may lead to loss of status as a World Heritage site, and more importantly, potentially irreversible habitat and species losses that will have wide-ranging repercussions.

The following statement was released by Dr. Susan Lieberman, WCS Vice President, International Policy:

“We need to join together to ensure the integrity of World Heritage Sites. These sites are ‘the jewel in the crown’ of parks on a global scale. We need to celebrate the amazing biological diversity and ecological integrity of these special places. At the World Parks Congress this week, one of the key issues is the undisputable value of parks, which include World Heritage Sites.

“The government Parties to the UNESCO World Heritage Convention have agreed that these special places are of outstanding universal value, and these extractive industries are incompatible with World Heritage status. At WCS, we know from our work on-the-ground in 32 World Heritage Sites around the world, assisting our government partners, that the World Heritage Convention is one of our best tools to help ensure the protection of our planet’s flora, fauna and ecosystems.”


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