Last Friday our colleague Luke reported from Paris that the IUCN released its assessment recommendations for the World Heritage Committee and outright rejected Australia’s proposal to remove the wild forests from Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area. This is great news and we are glad that we wrote a letter of concern to the UNESCO asking them to reject the proposal by the Australian government. Nevertheless there is a long way to go to ensure that the proposal is not approved at the 38th World Heritage Meeting in Doha in June.
Here a few comments of the report:
“The proposed excisions would reduce integrity of key natural attributes of the property, notably tall-eucalypt forest connectivity on the eastern boundary of the property. Whilst a detailed evaluation of the proposed boundaries would need improved mapping, the proposals also appear to reinstate threats that have previously been noted as being of concern by the World Heritage Committee, such as increasing the potential for adjoining logging to impact the property, or create additional risks in relation to fire management. The boundaries as drawn appear also to be somewhat arbitrary in their configuration to natural features, and so do not appear appropriate in relation to providing effective protection of the property…”
The IUCN considers that the present proposal is clearly inappropriate for consideration as a minor boundary modification, and should not be approved by the World Heritage Committee.
The committee recommends that the Government’s proposal to the World Heritage Committee to remove 74,000 hectares from the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area be withdrawn. ”