Protecting World Heritage Sites in the Face of Climate Change: A Call to Action
The recent report from the United Nations (https://www.cbd.int/gbo5) demonstrates the sorry state of global biodiversity. This is despite efforts to increase protected areas, both on land and at sea. The highest acknowledgement of the importance of a protected area for biodiversity is World Heritage (WH) listing. This listing includes global biodiversity icons such as the Great Barrier Reef and the Amazon. Many of these places have been listed for more than 30 years, and the basis of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) for which they were originally listed is likely to have changed. This is because of a range of pressures, but often climate change is directly or indirectly affecting these OUVs. This leaves researchers, managers, and policy-makers with the challenge as to how best to address these climate change impacts. What are the responses to the shifting baselines of OUVs? What planning mechanisms are there to assess the vulnerability of these sites in the face of climate change? How do we manage these WH sites in the face of climate change? These questions, and more, are now being asked by policy-makers and managers, and the research community is responding to the call. In this Special Issue, we will take the lessons learnt from across the WH family and use these findings to chart a way forward in supporting the increased resilience of WH sites to the challenges that have, and will, come with climate change.
Prof. Dr. Iain J. Gordon
Prof. Dr. Jim Perry
- World Heritage
- climate change
- Outstanding Universal Value
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