Marine World Heritage: 2020-2021 Annual Overview
The future of the world's ecological and human systems is deeply interconnected. Protecting nature means protecting people. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic seriously impacted local conservation budgets and shifted priorities across many marine World Heritage sites. The World Heritage Marine Programme's 2020-2021 Annual Overview provides insights about the challenges and successes across the marine World Heritage network over the past year.
Since the inscription of the first marine site on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1981, marine sites have grown into a global collection of 50 ocean places across 37 nations. Places of Outstanding Universal Value to humanity, recognized as UNESCO World Heritage for their exceptional marine biodiversity, singular ecosystem or geology, and incomparable beauty. Places that team with marine life and provide food and income for thousands of local and indigenous communities. Protecting these exceptional places is a shared responsibility of us all.
Among the Programme’s 2020 highlights was the launch of a new virtual platform where local managers from across the network share their conservation solutions and best practices. An international exhibit, developed in partnership with the Principality of Monaco, revealed scientific innovation at four marine World Heritage sites in Columbia, Philippines, Palau and France and its impact on the protection and decision making. The Programme also stepped up its climate adaptation work through the Resilient Reef Initiative which is implemented in collaboration with an international consortium of partners and delivers capacity at four initial pilot marine World Heritage sites.
None of this work would have been possible without the support of the Programme’s partners and contributors. The World Heritage Centre is deeply grateful to its partners and to the many talented women and men who step up action and rise to the challenge of protecting our marine World Heritage and making them beacons of hope in a changing ocean.