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New report identifies potential world heritage sites in Arctic waters

Posted on April, 04 2017

A new report identifies seven areas in the Arctic that could be considered for World Heritage Status based on their natural value.
A new report launched today by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), in partnership with the US-based Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre, has identified seven globally significant marine sites in the Arctic Ocean that warrant protection and could potentially qualify for World Heritage status. The report was supported by WWF.

Download Natural marine World Heritage in the Arctic Ocean

“The Arctic Ocean plays a crucial role in shaping global climate and hosts a diverse range of species, many of them threatened,” says Carl Gustaf Lundin, Director of IUCN’s Global Marine and Polar Programme. “The World Heritage Convention has great potential to increase global recognition and protection of the region’s most exceptional habitats.”

Some areas identified by the report for potential designation overlap with the Last Ice Area, highlighted by WWF as a priority for conservation of life associated with sea ice.

“This report supplies another nudge to nations around the Arctic that they need to start acting now to conserve these areas of local, national and international significance,” says Clive Tesar, lead of WWF’s Last Ice Area project. “Conservation takes time. As we have seen from the annual records set by shrinking Arctic sea ice, we may not have much time to ensure that these areas can function as a reservoir for animals such as polar bears and narwhals whose homes are melting away.”
Natural marine World Heritage in the Arctic Ocean