World Heritage No.89: World Heritage and Wetlands

Happy 2019, everyone! We’ve been off walkies Down Under the last couple weeks, ticking off a bunch of Australian World Heritage Sites in between hugging koalas and taking kangaroo selfies and all the Oz tourist clichés, but we’ll get our posting back on track soon; in the meantime, here’s the latest issue of the definitive World Heritage periodical for you to read:

World Heritage No.89: World Heritage and Wetlands

Wetlands are an essential, but often overlooked, aspect of our natural environment. They are vital sources of biodiversity and take many different forms – from lakes, rivers and swamps, to deltas and tidal flats, mangroves and coral reefs. Wetlands are found nearly everywhere, are essential to the survival of countless species of plants and animals, and are therefore crucial for human survival too, as water is the essence of life.

For this issue of World Heritage, we have collaborated with our friends at the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, which recognizes and helps protect wetland sites of international importance. Over 100 World Heritage properties are also designated as Ramsar Sites, in whole or in part, and our two Conventions work together closely. In an interview, Martha Rojas Urrego, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention, describes how the two Conventions cooperate, discusses the role of wetlands in urban areas as they continue to grow, and addresses the challenge of preserving wetlands in cultural heritage places.

We focus on Fertö / Neusiedlersee Cultural Landscape (Austria/Hungary), a unique example of people living in harmony with nature and a meeting place of different cultures for eight millennia, and on Pantanal Conservation Area (Brazil), part of one of the largest freshwater wetland ecosystems in the world. We look at Saryarka – Steppe and Lakes of Northern Kazakhstan, with its wetlands of outstanding importance for migratory water birds, including globally threatened species like the Siberian white crane and the Dalmatian Pelican. And we examine the uneasy balance of wetlands and cities, and how, if managed well, they can foster each other.

The 42nd session of the World Heritage Committee met in Manama, Bahrain from 24 June to 4 July 2018. In addition to reviewing the state of conservation of 157 World Heritage sites, the Committee added nineteen new properties to the World Heritage List. We are happy to present them to you here…

You may recall that we visited the Saryarka hinterlands our last swing through Kazakhstan, which was definitely in the off season for migration and not exactly a visual spectacle of undying memorability —

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p dir=”ltr”>— so we’re definitely going to be reading that particular article to find out what we missed!

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Alex Curylo

Alex

I go places.

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