Building World Heritage Watch
Unfortunately many World Heritage properties like these are threatened.
The UN World Heritage Convention lists 220 natural properties of 'Outstanding Universal Value', the loss of which would impoverish humanity. These properties contain some of the world’s most important ecosystems. They include jungles in the Amazon, temperate forest in Russia, Australia, North America and Europe, savannah woodlands in Africa where herds of elephants and wildebeests roam, and superb examples of the Earth’s marine environment.
However 19 natural properties are formally listed as ‘In Danger’, with many more coming under serious threat from poaching, logging, mining, dams, corruption, poor management and climate change.
Threatened World Heritage Sites include:
1. The 2.5-million-hectare Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra, Earth's last refuge for orangutans, tigers, elephants and rhinos living together in the wild. It was placed on the "In Danger' List in 2011 due to poaching, illegal logging and encroachment by palm-oil plantations. Since then, a further 300,000 ha have been damaged.
2. Each of the five World Heritage properties of the Democratic Republic of Congo listed 'In Danger' because of deforestation and rampant slaughter of wildlife by rebel groups.
3. The Komi Forests of Siberia, where the Russian government is intent on mining. This vast wilderness is one of the most extensive areas of virgin boreal forest remaining in Europe.
So what are we doing about this?
We are working on an exciting new initiative World Heritage Watch set up in 2015 by a highly respected group of international experts in order to:
1. support local communities safeguarding threatened World Heritage sites;
2. inform and lobby UNESCO and relevant governments of critical issues and
3. raise public awareness of the threats to natural & cultural World Heritage properties.
So far most of our work has been voluntary.
We have secured a small contract funding us for a few months to cover basic costs but need your help.
This crowd-funder would ensure we can:
1. Consolidate and build the organisation throughout 2017 with an international fundraising drive;
2. Extend our work to defend threatened natural World Heritage forests in Indonesia and other countries including writing reports to the World Heritage Committee;
3. Assist with nominations of potential World Heritage properties such as the Carpathien forests of Eastern Europe;
4. Improve the World Heritage Watch website and
5. Attend the World Heritage Watch conference and committee meetings in Germany and Poland, working closely with the Director Stephan Doempke based in Berlin.
The 2015 Conference Proceedings from World Heritage Watch's first international meeting, which Geoff presented at, are an enduring statement of the inspiring stories and challenges facing people defending their World Heritage properties across the globe.
From this, World Heritage Watch is starting to support, equip and train local NGOs and indigenous people so that they can:
· monitor the properties and write comprehensive reports to the World Heritage Committee;
· lobby for their properties at local and national levels;
· mobilize international efforts for additional protection.
What ever you can spare to keep us afloat would be hugely appreciated!
Who are we?
Between us we have over 50 years of successful conservation campaign experience. We've helped create major National Parks and World Heritage Areas in Australia. Geoff was awarded an Order of Australia for conservation in 2013 and the German Commission to UNESCO made Geoff a World Heritage Hero in 2015. Over the last 5 years Amanda has helped create the largest Marine Protected Area on Earth in the Antarctic Ocean declared in October 2016.
We can't think of anything more important to do with our time and skills than building capacity to defend our collective World Heritage sites.
DONATE to World Heritage Watch here today.
Thanks for reading this and contact us if you have any questions.
Please help us defend your World Heritage Areas!
Amanda Sully & Geoff Law AM
Upper Florentine - part of 172,000 hectares added to Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area in 2013
Photo by Kip Nunn
Orangutan in Sumatran rainforest 2010
Photo by Geoff Law