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UNESCO World Heritage Centre and IUCN Representatives to visit Yellowstone

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avatar UNESCO World Heritage Centre and IUCN Representatives to visit Yellowstone
September 13, 2011 01:16PM
At the invitation of the United States government, the Director of the World Heritage Centre and a representative of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) are headed to Yellowstone later this month to get a first-hand look at how the National Park Service is addressing challenges facing the world's first national park which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978. UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.

A variety of threats to the park prompted the World Heritage Committee to place Yellowstone on its List of World Heritage in Danger in 1995. The park was subsequently removed from the list in 2003. Since then, the United States has continued to report on the conditions of the park to the World Heritage Committee.

During this visit to Yellowstone, part a routine monitoring effort, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN representatives will tour Yellowstone and meet with staff members to learn more about management of the park and actions being taken to address issues facing it.

As part of their visit, the park will host a public listening session with the World Heritage delegation in West Yellowstone on Wednesday evening, September 21. The meeting will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Holiday Inn West Yellowstone Conference Hotel. The World Heritage representatives are hoping to attract individuals representing a wide array of divergent interests and viewpoints to attend and briefly share their thoughts and concerns.

Subsequent to their visit, the World Heritage representatives will issue a report on their findings, which will be reviewed by the World Heritage Committee at its next regular session in 2012. The Committee is the governing body of the World Heritage Convention, an international agreement to identify and promote the protection of the world's most significant cultural and natural treasures. The World Heritage Centre is the secretariat for the Convention.

In 1973, the United States was the first country to sign the World Heritage Convention. To date, 187 nations are signatories. Countries voluntarily nominate their sites for inclusion on the World Heritage List. Member nations retain complete sovereignty over all property and over the operation of sites added to the World Heritage List. There are 21 sites in the U.S., including 17 units of the national park system that have received World Heritage designation.

The park's most recent report to the World Heritage Committee can be found online at http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/upload/wh_09.pdf. You can learn more about World Heritage in the U.S. at http://www.nps.gov/oia/topics/worldheritage/worldheritage.htm and the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and the 936 sites worldwide which are on the World Heritage list at http://whc.unesco.org/.
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