The report by UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which explores the different ways the World Heritage Convention may one day apply to the wonders of the open ocean, which covers more than half the planet, was presented to the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawaii a few hours ago.
Sunken coral islands, floating rainforests, giant undersea volcanoes or even spires of rock resembling sunken cities: none of these sites can be inscribed on the World Heritage List because they are found in the High Seas, the parts of Earth’s ocean that are outside of any national jurisdiction.
-Read my commentary on my earlier Voices post about the report.
-More details on our website
–Download the report (pdf)
-Celebrate some of the wonders of the high seas in the photos below. A map showing where in the world are some potential places in the high seas that merit World Heritage status may be found below the images.
The work is made possible through the support of the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation, the French Marine Protected Area Agency (AAMP) and the Swiss watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre. The initiative also received support from the Nekton Foundation.
Dr. Fanny Douvere is the coordinator of the Marine Programme at UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre in Paris, France. Since October 2009, her mission is to ensure the 49 marine sites on UNESCO’s World Heritage List are conserved and sustainably managed so future generations can continue to enjoy them. She recently wrote in Nature on why not investing in marine World Heritage is a lost opportunity for the oceans.
Prior to her work at the World Heritage Centre, she co-initiated and led the Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) initative at UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission. In 2009 she co-published the UNESCO guide Marine Spatial Planning: A Step-by-Step Approach Toward Ecosystem-based Management. The guide has gained international recognition for setting a standard for the application of MSP and is available in six languages. She also served as an advisor to the United States Executive Office of the President (Council of Environmental Quality) on the development of the US Framework for Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning.
She co-authored more than 20 articles in internationally peer-reviewed journals on both marine World Heritage and MSP. Most recently, she authored for World Heritage Marine Sites Managing effectively the world’s most iconic Marine Protected Areas. A Best Practice Guide, in which she lays out a tangible approach for marine protected area management based on the fundamental idea that all things happen in time and space and the oceans should be managed accordingly.
Fanny obtained her PhD in 2010 from the Ghent University in Belgium and published the book Marine Spatial Planning: Concepts, current practice and linkages to other management approaches.