Thursday, February 26, 2009

UNESCO Can Revoke World Heritage Site Status

Though it is rare, it has happened. On June 28, 2007 Oman's Arabian Oryx Sanctuary (Oryx is a kind of antelope) had its World Heritage status revoked. Oman had greatly reduced the size of the park and UNESCO decided this diminished the park’s value (source). UNESCO's reason for this being the Omani government's decision to open 90% of the site to oil prospecting.

In today's Telegram Bill Callahan writes that Gros Morne status could be reconsidered. That's very real.

According to, "The World Heritage Committee deleted the property because of Oman's decision to reduce the size of the protected area by 90%, in contravention of the Operational Guidelines of the Convention. This was seen by the Committee as destroying the outstanding universal value of the site which was inscribed in 1994."

64 km of up to 600 feet wide of clear cutting through Gros Morne would hideously scar a key characteristic which qualified the park for World Heritage Site consideration in the first place, pristine beauty. UNESCO has already sent a message to developers not to tamper with such designated sites, but Gros Morne could be considered in the future to be removed from World Heritage Site status. Don't forget Mealy Mountains in Labrador. NALCOR's plans involves mauling part of that park as well.

In recent weeks this blog has posted a few graphical conceptions of how towers across our parks would look, and for a real eye opener, here's a St. John's version with wires and towers providing the icing on top. Transmission lines and steel towers don't mix well with UNESCO World Heritage Sites, it is transmitting the wrong message.

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