Florida Everglades and Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve off 'danger list' – UNESCO
The Everglades National Park in the United States and Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve in Honduras have been removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced today.
The decision was taken by the World Heritage Committee, which is meeting in Christchurch, New Zealand, to examine the state of conservation of sites on UNESCO's World Heritage List and on the List of World Heritage in Danger. Inclusion on the Danger List is intended to mobilize support for sites whose outstanding universal value is under threat.
The Committee commended the United States for its investment of scientific and financial resources to rehabilitate the Florida Everglades, which was inscribed on the Danger List in 1993.
Described as a river of grass flowing imperceptibly from the hinterland into the sea, the Everglades' “exceptional variety of water habitats has made it a sanctuary for a large number of birds and reptiles, including threatened species such as the manatee,” UNESCO said in a news release. The site had been threatened by urban growth and pollution, as well as by the damage caused to Florida Bay in 1992 by Hurricane Andrew.
The Committee also welcomed the corrective measures taken by the Honduran authorities to preserve the Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve, which was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1982 and on the Danger List in 1996. These corrective measures were “destined to relieve the site – one of the few remaining tropical rainforests in Central America, home to an abundant and varied plant and wildlife – of encroachment by agriculture, timber trade and hunting,” UNESCO said.
In addition to reviewing the Danger List, the World Heritage Committee will examine requests to inscribe three dozen new nature and culture sites on the World Heritage List.