Current issues

Food Shortage in a Pacific Islands World Heritage Site!

Please help the People of East Rennell!

When the eastern half of the island of Rennell was inscribed in the World Heritage List in 1998, the local community was in full support, hoping that their lives would change for the better through tourism and investments. They were wrong. Both the international community and their own government have turned their back on them, and it has come to the point that they suffer food shortages. Now they are warning that they will start logging their forest – one of the most pristine in all the small Pacific Islands – and give up on the World Heritage status which hasn’t brought them any benefit in more than 20 years.

The islanders need fishing gear and seedlings of fruit trees in order to provide for their own food. When all UNESCO member states don’t care to help East Rennell, we will not stand idly by.

Please make a generous donation here:

Donate Here

Rennell is the southernmost island of the Solomon Islands in the western Pacific. It is the largest raised coral atoll in the world. A major feature of the island is Lake Tegano, which was the lagune of the atoll before the island rose up from the ocean due to geological activity. Rennell is still covered with dense tropical forest averaging 20m in height and providing habitat for a multitude of rare and endemic birds and plants. Its population of 1,800 is an ethnic Polynesian minority in the mostly Melanesian Solomon Islands.

The local communities of East Rennell have been congratulated for their commitment to protect the World Heritage site. However, bauxite mining is now widespread in the western part of the island, which has led to an invasion of rats who devastate fields and crops. Logging has been approved within 200 m of the World Heritage boundary leading to a loss of groundwater. At the same time, Lake Tegano is threatened by sea level rise and increased salinity, and as a result, it has become impossible for the community to grow taro, their staple food which is also of great cultural importance.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) – the body advising UNESCO – has stated in its recent report:

“The real long-term threat to the … site is the lack of alternative income generating alternatives to commercial logging and mining … Additional support for sustainable livelihoods should urgently be provided to communities to ensure protection and management of the site.”

We are in close contact with Jorge Tauika, the leader of the local community’s Lake Tegano World Heritage Site Association, a registered charity which will be the recipient of our support. Jorge has been invited by UNESCO before and enjoys high trust and respect of both the local and international community. With your support, he can go to the capital, Honiara, in order to buy the fishing equipment and seedlings so urgently needed to keep his people healthy and the World Heritage safe.

Please make your generous donation, earmarked “East Rennell”, through https://world-heritage-watch.org/donate/.

Thank you for your support. We wish you a merry Christmas season and – stay safe!
Sincerely,

Stephan Doempke
Chairman and CEO, World Heritage Watch


 

We have been invited to present the work of World Heritage Watch to the Subcommittee on Foreign Cultural and Educational Policy of the Deutsche Bundestag (the German Parliament) on Monday 14 December. The session will start at 16h CET and we expect to be on by around 17h for about 30 minutes. You can follow it live (in German) online at www.bundestag.de/mediathek

 

At its 14th extraordinary session, held online on 2 November 2020, the World Heritage Committee has decided to hold an extended 44th session in June/July 2021 in Fuzhou, China. The exact dates will be determined at a later stage by the Chairperson of the Committee in consultation with the Secretariat.

World Heritage Watch will explore the option of holding an International Civil Society Forum immediately prior to the Session of the WH Committee, or as a side event during the Session.

CALL FOR PAPERS

9th International NGO Forum on World Heritage

In conjunction with a meeting of Advisory Bodies of the World Heritage Committee, and in partnership with our network of indigenous peoples’ and civil society organizations, World Heritage Watch is organizing the 9th International NGO Forum on World Heritage in Paris, France, in January 2021

The exact date and venue of the Forum will be announced in due time. Depending on the development of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Forum is likely to be held online in the form of a Zoom Conference.
> Call for Papers

APPEL A COMMUNICATIONS

9e Forum International des ONG sur le Patrimoine Mondial

Parallèlement à une réunion des Organisations consultatives du Comité du patrimoine mondial, et en partenariat avec notre réseau d’organisations de peuples autochtones et de la société civile, World Heritage Watch organise le 9e Forum International des ONG sur le Patrimoine Mondial à Paris, France, en janvier 2021. Au cours de ce forum seront évoqués le cas de sites du Patrimoine mondial pour lesquels des problèmes de protection et de sauvegarde nécessitent d’être portés à l’attention du Comité du patrimoine mondial et du grand public.

La date exacte et le lieu du Forum seront annoncés en temps voulu. En fonction de l’évolution de la pandémie COVID-19, le Forum se tiendra probablement en ligne sous la forme d’une conférence Zoom.
> Appel a Communications français

CONVOCATORIA DE PONENCIAS

9º Foro Internacional de ONGs de Patrimonio Mundial

En conjunto con una reunión de los Órganos Asesores del Comité del Patrimonio Mundial, y en asociación con nuestra red de organizaciones de Pueblos Indígenas y sociedad civil, World Heritage Watch (Observatorio de Patrimonio Mundial) está organizando el 9º Foro Internacional de ONGs de Patrimonio Mundial en París, Francia, en enero de 2021. El Foro discutirá diferentes casos de sitios Patrimonio Mundial en los cuales exista algún tipo de preocupación por su protección y salvaguarda que merezca la atención del Comité del Patrimonio Mundial y del público general.

La fecha exacta y la localización del Foro serán anunciados próximamente. Dependiendo del desarrollo de la pandemia de COVID-19, el Foro podría desarrollarse por medio de Zoom.
> Convocatoria de Ponencias español

Прием докладов

cовместно с консультативными органами Комитета всемирного наследия и нашим сообществом организаций коренных народов и гражданского общества, ассоциация World Heritage Watch организует 9-й международный Форум НКО по всемирному наследию Париж, Франция, январь 2021 года. О точной дате и месте проведения Форума будет сообщено позднее. В зависимости от развития пандемии COVID-19 Форум, скорее всего, будет проводиться онлайн в формате Zoom-конференции.

На Форуме будут обсуждаться объекты всемирного наследия, которые вызывают озабоченность по поводу их сохранности и на которые следует обратить внимание Комитета всемирного наследия и широкой общественности.

> Прием докладов на русском языке

Introducing Rod Posser

We are happy to introduce Rod Prosser, our representative for the Australia-Pacific Region. He will support us in promoting World Heritage Watch, extending the network, and fundraising. Over time we hope to find more committed individuals who will assume that responsibility in other parts of the world as well.

Rod is a New Zealand film-maker who has been making political documentaries since the 1970s. His New Zealand themes have included Maori sovereignty, environmental education, workers rights and the anti-nuclear movement. While living in Berlin in the 1990s, he made a number of documentaries for German television including films about the interdependent struggles for the environment, indigenous cultures and revolution in the Philippines, the history and culture of Rapanui/Easter Island, and American militarism in the Pacific. For most of his life, Rod has also been involved in solidarity work with peoples of the Third World (especially the Philippines) and has worked with NGOs in NZ and in Germany to support indigenous peoples, biosphere reserves and environmental activism.

Contact Rod Prosser through orodi@protonmail.com