After years of being threatened by human activity the Belize Barrier Reef is getting some relief. The government of Belize has been praised by UNESCO for taking some neat initiative to save the reef. Back in 1996 the reef was added to UNESCO’s world heritage sites which stirred the government into action. The progress of protections of the coral reef has increased over the years and hopefully other governments will follow the lead of Belize.
In December 2017, lawmakers passed a landmark moratorium on oil exploration in Belizean waters, which makes it one of only a handful of countries in the world with such legislation.
At its meeting in Bahrain on Monday, Unesco praised Belize’s “visionary plan to manage the coastline”, saying that “the level of conservation we hoped for has been achieved”.
Guatemala is a gorgeous country with a rich Mayan history, particularly around Lake Atitlán (and the more famous Tikal). The country will now be home to a UNESCO project toking at best practices for underwater archaeology. The main idea is to work with the local population to ensure cultural sensitivity and to match that care with environmental concerns. When the practices are outlined UNESCO will expand their underwater archeology knowledge to the world’s researchers with some locations already identified.
UNESCO’s technical mission to Lake Atitlán (southwest of Guatemala) will take place in the autumn. It will be funded by Spain and will be carried out by the experts of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Body of UNESCO’s Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage. María Helena Barba Meinecke, head of the Yucatan Peninsula underwater heritage programme of Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History will lead the mission, which will examine the archaeological sites in the lake and propose a management plan in consultation with the local communities, for whom these vestiges are of great cultural importance.
Several submerged archaeological sites were discovered in 1996 in Lake Atitlán, the deepest lake in Central America. Among them is a Mayan villages known as Samabaj, which retains the remains of domestic structures and religious monuments. The village appears to have been built on an island that was submerged, possibly because of a volcanic eruption, a landslide or another natural disaster.
UNESCO added eight new sites to their ‘Global Geopark.’ The sites each demonstrate the amazing and great geology of our planet, and the diversity of Earth. The new locations are spread around the world including China, France, Mexico, and Iran (in the video above). If you go to these destinations remember to travel as efficiently and eco-consciously as possible.
UNESCO Global Geoparks are territories that promote geodiversity through community-led initiatives to enhance regional sustainable development. They help monitor and promote awareness of climate change and natural disasters and many of them help local communities prepare disaster mitigation strategies.
With this year’s eight additions, the world network now numbers 127 UNESCO Global Geoparks in 35 countries. They celebrate the 4.6-billion-year history of our planet and the geodiversity that has shaped every aspect of our lives and societies. Furthermore, Geoparks create opportunities for sustainable tourism, whose importance has been recognized by the United Nations, which named 2017 as International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.
The world’s oceans are incredibly important to the overall wellbeing of our planet. They absorb a lot of CO2 and harbour multiple ecosystems that we are still learning about. Despite the importance of the world’s oceans we often ignore their health.
World Oceans Day is today and it’s a reminder how amazing these oceans are and that we ought to do more to protect them while revitalizing areas that have been negatively impacted by climate change.
Climate change is a global problem demanding a global solution. The Paris Agreement has created a framework for climate action around the world. At its last session in Bonn, the World Heritage Committee—which has had a carbon neutral policy for its sessions since 2007—voiced its hope that an agreement would be reached at COP21, and called on all States Parties to mobilize global climate action on the ground. For coral reefs and many other marine ecosystems, keeping climatic warming to the Paris Agreement’s long-term goal of 1.5°C is essential. UNESCO has been working for years to track and manage climate impacts.