A new report reveals why governments should invest in their UNESCO designated sites to help meet global commitments
London, UK, 6 October 2022 – Faced with a growing energy crisis, record greenhouse gas concentrations, and increasing extreme weather events, COP27 to be held in Egypt in November seeks renewed cooperation between countries to deliver on the Paris Agreement. Meanwhile, world leaders will meet in Montreal, Canada, in December during COP15 to agree on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.
A new study published today by the UK and Canadian UNESCO Commissions for UNESCO has found that UNESCO designated sites face a range of global challenges, but it also shows that, with additional support, they can be at the forefront of generating and sharing innovative local approaches to tackling these challenges. For the first time, it provides a framework that groups Biosphere Reserves, Global Geoparks and World Heritage Sites as UNESCO sites for sustainable development – for how they connect global goals to local actions, and have the tools to effect real, long-lasting progress towards Agenda 2030.
UNESCO sites are a global network that span the globe, cover 10 million km2 (the geographical size of the USA), and are home to hundreds of millions of people. The study shows that these sites in the UK and Canada face significant threats ranging from over-tourism, flooding, storms, and invasive species to pressures from housing and commercial development. Despite this, the report shows the UNESCO sites are uniquely placed to address them by bringing people, communities, businesses, and organizations together to mobilize solutions locally, regionally, and internationally.
Head of Policy, Communications and Research
UK National Commission for UNESCO