IUCN's evaluations of 10 sites nominated to obtain World Heritage status are now public ahead of the upcoming World Heritage Committee meeting. In addition, the first batch of State of Conservation reports, prepared jointly by IUCN and the World Heritage Centre, has been released.
State of Conservation reports assess the condition of World Heritage sites affected by major conservation issues. More than 60 sites around the globe were assessed this year. A second release of State of Conservation reports, together with evaluations of two further nominations and proposals for two minor boundary modifications of current sites, will be issued on 16 May.
IUCN will present the recommendations included in these reports and evaluations to the World Heritage Committee during its 38th meeting from 15-25 June in Doha, Qatar. It will discuss the necessary action to conserve our world's natural wonders in a range of Committee debates and side events.
Nominations for World Heritage status in 2014
As the advisory body to the Committee on nature, IUCN evaluates the nomination files of all natural and, jointly with ICOMOS, all mixed sites in an extensive process lasting more than a year. For this year's Committee meeting, 12 nomination dossiers and two minor boundary modifications were examined by IUCN, involving 10 field missions. The nominated natural and mixed sites this year are:
- Australia, Tasmanian Wilderness (minor boundary modification): mixed site
- Botswana, Okavango Delta
- China, South China Karst (Phase II) (extension)
- Denmark / Germany, Wadden Sea (extension)
- Denmark, Stevns Klint
- France, Tectono-volcanic Ensemble of the Chaîne des Puys and Limagne Fault
- India, Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area (referred in 2013)
- Mexico, Ancient Maya City and Protected Tropical Forests of Calakmul, Campeche (extension and renomination): mixed site
- Panama, Darien National Park (minor boundary modification)
- Philippines, Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary (referred in 2013)
- Poland / Belarus, Bialowieza Forest (extension and renomination)
- Portugal, Arrábida: mixed site and cultural landscape
- Vietnam, Trang An Landscape Complex: mixed site and cultural landscape
- Vietnam, Cat Ba Archipelago
Major threats to World Heritage
Every year IUCN, in partnership with the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, monitors the state of World Heritage sites affected by major conservation issues. A total of 61 sites around the globe were assessed this year, involving 11 field missions. Eighteen natural World Heritage sites are currently inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
The monitoring reports reveal that poaching and illegal logging – threats that have become particularly prominent since last year – continue to rise. Africa and Asia emerge as the most affected regions, with elephants, rhinoceros and valuable timber being targeted most prominently, and with often life-threatening conditions for park rangers on the ground.
Development of dams and other large infrastructure, as well as extractive activities, remain constant threats to World Heritage sites across the planet.
Who can attend the World Heritage Committee?
The Committee meeting comprises 21 Members of the World Heritage Committee, States Parties to the World Heritage Convention, the UNESCO secretariat and the three Advisory Bodies (IUCN, ICOMOS and ICCROM), together with observers from NGO, civil society and the press. The UNESCO World Heritage Centre is responsible for coordinating the meeting.
The World Heritage Committee is open to those wishing to attend as observers, but a request must be sent in writing at the following address to obtain accreditation:
World Heritage Centre
7, Place de Fontenoy
75352 Paris 07 SP
Journalists require special accreditation, which can be obtained using the online form at the following address: www.38whcdoha2014.qa/media.php.
Registration should be completed online as soon as possible following accreditation on the Committee's official website www.38whcdoha2014.qa, where more information is available.
IUCN is the advisory body to the World Heritage Committee, which meets every year to take decisions on nominations and required conservation action for World Heritage sites. In addition to advising the Committee, this year IUCN will launch the IUCN World Heritage Outlook – an online tool providing the first comprehensive global assessment of the conservation prospects for natural World Heritage.