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World Heritage at the COP 10 in Nagoya, Japan

Friday, 22 October 2010
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From 18 to 29 October, the 10th Conference of the Parties (COP) of the Convention on Biological Diversity is taking place in Nagoya, Japan. The COP marks the 20th anniversary of the Convention and is one of the highlights of the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity.  An important objective of the meeting is to adopt a revised and updated Strategic Plan including new biodiversity target(s) for the post-2010 period.

A UNESCO delegation led by the Assistant Director General for Natural Sciences is taking part in this important meeting, and will also address several issues related to the World Heritage Convention.  The contribution of the World Heritage Convention for biodiversity conservation will again be highlighted.  The World Heritage List provides an international protection status to a significant part of the world's most important sites for biodiversity conservation. Today, terrestrial natural World Heritage sites together protect over 1.3 million square km of land, almost 1% of the land surface of the earth. Additionally, nearly 1.6 million square km of ocean is protected under the World Heritage Convention, including five of the ten largest and most pristine marine protected areas on the planet.  World Heritage designation provides protected areas around the globe with the highest internationally recognized status for conservation, both terrestrial and marine. In various cases, this status has leveraged crucial support for some of the most valuable and outstanding protected areas on the planet, safeguarding their protection and altering unsustainable development and destruction.

The World Heritage Centre is the Secretariat to the World Heritage Convention, one of the 6 biodiversity-related Conventions. Together with the Secretariats of other Conventions (Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species - CITES -, Convention on Migratory Species, Ramsar Convention on Wetlands) the World Heritage Centre prepared a joint statement to be delivered by the Secretary General of CITES during the high-level segment of COP 10 next week.

A number of important side events related to World Heritage will also take place. In parallel to the COP, a youth forum Go4BioDiv is organized in which young adults representing natural World Heritage sites will work around the theme "Our Treasures at Risk - World Heritage Sites in Times of Climate Change". Side events in Nagoya by Go4BioDiv include an exhibition, a forum where the young people will present the results of their meeting and a stage event. (see flyer).

On 25 October a side event on the Sangha Tri-national Landscape is organized by COMIFAC (Commission des Forêts d'Afrique Centrale), where the nomination for the inscription of this transboundary landscape on the World Heritage List will be presented.

On 26 October, a press briefing will be organized by Norway titled "Tackling illegal logging and the illicit trade of Malagasy precious woods from World Heritage sites".  Global Witness and the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) will launch their new report following investigations into illegal logging and international trade of Malagasy rosewood, palisander and ebony. UNESCO will explain to the press the decision of the World Heritage Committee to inscribe the Rainforests of the Atsinanana site on the List of World Heritage in Danger in July 2010.