Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tanzania: German Body Commends Conservation of Serengeti

Serengeti — FRANKFURT Zoological Society (FZS) has commended the government of Tanzania for its commitment to conserve Serengeti National Park, which is one of the world's heritage sites.

"FZS congratulates Tanzania for its efforts in conserving this important park and a world heritage site", FZS Director Dr Christof Schenck remarked. Dr Schenck said this shortly after attending a high profile regional conservation workshop at Seronera where the park's headquarters are situated.

The workshop lasted for four days. He underscored the importance of keeping Serengeti intact, refraining from bisecting it with a highway, which could cause disastrous effects on the park's ecosystem. "It is important that the Serengeti National Park stays free of any commercial long distance roads. It is by so doing that the migration of more than 1.5 million wildebeest which is a unique event on this planet can be maintained", Dr Schenck said in a statement made available to the 'Daily News' on Monday morning.

The donor community including the US government, World Bank and the Germany government have expressed willingness several times to help the government of Tanzania to address social and economic problems facing marginalized communities residing in the Eastern and Northern sides of Serengeti if a commercial road will not be built through the park, stated part of the statement.

FZS also supports the idea of constructing an alternative road on the southern part just like how various donor community countries have suggested. "If the Southern alternative is being built, the communities around Serengeti will be developed and the integrity of the Serengeti ecosystem will be maintained. Tanzania will be a role model for Africa in the combination of natural resource protection and development", the FZS chief said.

He described Serengeti as a global resource and most amazing park in the world, hence called for concerted efforts to protect it for the present and coming generations. With its headquarters in Germany, FZS has been spending an average of one million Euros to support conservation activities meant to protect the world famous park which is also rated as the leading country tourist destination.

Friday, February 24, 2012

World Heritage Words

Besides posting relevant news items about World Heritage Sites from around the globe on our Blog, we thought it might be fun and hopefully interesting to occasionally interject our thoughts and musings once in awhile.

So, therefore, I'm off to ramble about all things World Heritage.

The big news in the National Park Service Office of International Affairs is the 40th Anniversary of the World Heritage Convention. We're excited and are planning several events throughout the year. Plus, we've posted a new website celebrating the event and we're holding two contests as well. We're looking for videos which we can post on YouTube and for new photos which we can feature on our website. Check our new website for more information.

In mid-March, UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova will be visiting Independence Hall as part of the celebration. After visiting that park, she'll be off to the Everglades to continue the event. If you live near either of those parks, we encourage you to go and check it out.

Finally, one of our summer interns from last year is in Tanzania on a study-abroad semester. We put him in charge of this Blog last year and though he is no longer interning with us, we hope that once he returns from overseas, he'll have some stories or images to share. He promised he would visit as many Tanzanian World Heritage Sites as possible, so we're awaiting his return.

Thanks for visiting our Blog. We welcome your comments as well and any images or videos you want to share with us.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Aztec Ruins celebrate worldly heritage

AZTEC RUINS — It shares membership in the same exclusive club with such notables as the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef and the Great Wall of China.
And it's right in our backyard.

Twenty-five years ago, Aztec Ruins National Monument received designation as a UNESCO World Heritage site, and a special celebration in honor of this event will take place Friday at the ruins.

"We are really excited about this anniversary, and we want to celebrate by reminding people of what they have right here at home," said Aztec Ruins Superintendent Larry Turk. "Friday's celebration will be a chance to invite locals back who might have not visited the ruins in a while, and it will also hopefully bring in some new people who have never before seen the ruins."

There are only 21 World Heritage sites in the United States, including the Grand Canyon, and Yellowstone and Mesa Verde national parks. Aztec Ruins shares the designation with Chaco Cultural National Historic Park, along with several smaller Chaco sites.

World Heritage distinguishes natural and cultural sites that are of outstanding universal value to all humankind. They represent unique historical periods and rare natural landscapes.
New Mexico has more World Heritage sites than any other state, with Carlsbad Caverns and Taos Pueblo joining the Chaco Culture sites as designees.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Russia Allows Ski Resort in Caucasus World Heritage Site

KRASNODAR, Russia, February 3, 2012 (ENS) - The Russian government is preparing to allow construction of a cluster of ski resorts and roads in the Caucasus region that will alter one of Europe's few untouched mountain wilderness areas. The development is expected to impact two biosphere nature reserves, two national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and a World Heritage Site.
Previously, the construction of tourist infrastructure in protected areas has been either illegal or restricted by Russian federal environmental laws.

"Russian nature resources and environment ministry recently gave the Russian government a list of construction projects currently allowed to be placed in nature reserves," says Suren Gazaryan of the nonprofit Environmental Watch on North Caucasus.
Gazaryan expects that a decree formally authorizing this list will soon be signed by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. By doing so, Putin will be signing "a death warrant" for Russia's Western Caucasus World Heritage Site, said the conservationist.

Also, "This will allow construction of ski lifts and slopes, as well as road and engineering infrastructure, to be built on the territory of two biosphere nature reserves, Kavkazsky and Teberdinsky, in the Russian Caucasus," Gazaryan says.

Inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1999, the Western Caucasus site has what the UN agency calls "a remarkable diversity of geology, ecosystems and species. It is of global significance as a centre of plant diversity ... containing extensive tracts of undisturbed mountain forests unique on the European scale."

Read more, here.