The World Heritage Committee has inscribed the Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley (Kenya) and Australia's Ningaloo Coast on UNESCO's World Heritage List.
The Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley (Kenya), a natural property of outstanding beauty was the first to be added to UNESCO's World Heritage List during the current Committee session. It comprises three inter-linked relatively shallow lakes (Lake Bogoria, Lake Nakuru and Lake Elementaita) in the Rift Valley Province of Kenya and covers a total area of 32,034 hectares.
The property is home to 13 globally threatened bird species and some of the highest bird diversities in the world. It is the single most important foraging site for the lesser flamingo anywhere, and a major nesting and breeding ground for great white pelicans. The property features sizeable mammal populations, including black rhino, Rothschild's giraffe, greater kudu, lion, cheetah and wild dogs and is valuable for the study of ecological processes of major importance.
The 604,500 hectare marine and terrestrial property of Ningaloo Coast , on the remote western coast of Australia, includes one of the longest near-shore reefs in the world. On land the site features an extensive karst system and network of underground caves and water courses. Annual gatherings of whale sharks occur at Ningaloo Coast, which is home to numerous marine species, among them a wealth of sea turtles. The terrestrial part of the site features subterranean water bodies with a substantial network of caves, conduits, and groundwater streams. They support a variety of rare species that contribute to the exceptional biodiversity of the marine and terrestrial site.
A total of 35 nominations, including natural, cultural and mixed properties will have been reviewed by the Committee which is holding its 35th session at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris until 29 June.