A UN body has removed the Galapagos from its list of World Heritage in Danger, to the dismay of conservationists.
The islands had been added to the list in 2007 by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), due to threats from tousim and fishing. At its meeting in Brazil the UNESCO World Heritage Committee said “significant progress” had been made in addressing these problems.
But a number of groups have labelled the move premature.
“Galapagos may no longer officially be a World Heritage Site In Danger, but its unique biodiversity is still very much at risk,” says Toni Darton, chief executive of the Galapagos Conservation Trust.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature also decried the move.
“Threats from tourism, invasive species and overfishing are still factors and the situation in the Galapagos remains critical,” says Tim Badman, head of the IUCN’s world heritage programme (press release). “We will need continued strong commitment from the Ecuadorian government over the coming years to resolve these issues.”
Under consideration for possible World Heritage Listing at the meeting are the following scientifically-related sites:
Darwin’s Landscape Laboratory, United Kingdom
Palaeolithic Rock Art Ensemble in Siega Verde, Portugal / Spain
Prehistoric Caves of Yagul and Mitla in the Central Valley of Oaxaca
Bikini Atoll, nuclear tests site
Pirin National Park (extension), Bulgaria
Pitons, cirques and remparts of Reunion Island, France
Phoenix Islands Protected Area, Kiribati
Dinosaur Ichnites of the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal / Spain
Putorana Plateau, Russian Federation
Monte San Giorgio (extension), Switzerland / Italy
Mountains of the Pamirs (Tajikistan)