Climate Change: Group Calls on the Need to Save World Heritage Sites

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‘The World Heritage and Tourism in a Changing Climate study’ held an assembly on its report on the study which took place at the United Nations Environment Programme in Nairobi. The assembly brought together over 1,200 delegates in order to address the global environmental agenda.

The World Heritage and Tourism in a Changing Climate study was launched by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the UN Environment Program (UNEP), and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), at the global ministerial meeting in Nairobi, Kenya.

Director of UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre, Mechtild Rössler, said that there is global need for a better understanding, monitoring and addressing of climate change threats to World Heritage sites. He also said that protecting our World Heritage for current and future generations is at the mercy of our ability to achieve the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global temperature rise to a level well below 2°C.

The lead author of the report of the study and Deputy Director of the Climate and Energy Program at UCS, Adam Markham, said: “Climate change is affecting World Heritage sites across the globe. Some Easter Island statues are at risk of being lost to the sea because of coastal erosion. He went ahead to say that Majority of the world’s most important coral reefs have suffered coral bleaching due to climate change this year. Climate change could result in a loss of status for some World Heritage sites.

The report recommends that, as World Heritage sites must have “Outstanding Universal Value,” the World Heritage Committee should consider the risk of prospective sites becoming degraded by climate change before they add them to the list.

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