UNESCO has elected to remove the Galapagos Islands from the List of World Heritage in Danger due to significant progress in protecting its ecosystem, but the degradation of the Everglades National Park means it has been added to the at-risk list.
Described as a unique living museum and showcase of evolution, the islands were threatened by invasive species, rampant tourism and over-fishing, however, significant progress has been made by Ecuador in the past few years to address these problems, particularly in dealing with introduced species.
The same cannot be said of the Everglades. The national park contains the largest mangrove ecosystem in the western hemisphere, the largest continuous stand of sawgrass prairie and the most significant breeding ground for wading birds in North America, but serious and continuing degradation of its aquatic ecosystem have seen it inscribed onto the list at the request of the United States.
“Water inflows have been reduced by up to 60 per cent and nutrient pollution increased to the point where the site is showing significant signs of eutrophication, loss of marine habitat and a subsequent decline in marine species,” UNSECO said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Vietnam’s Imperial Citadel of Thang Long-Hanoi has become the 900th site to be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
A new wave of inscriptions has taken place recently and the citadel joins recent additions such as Amsterdam's famous canal belt, and China’s Shaolin temple, the birthplace of kung fu.
All this activity has taken place during the 34th session of the World Heritage Committee in Brasilia.
Updates to the World Heritage List:
• The Central Highlands of Sri Lanka (Sri Lanka)
• Papahānaumokuākea (United States of America)
• Ngorongoro Conservation Area (Tanzania)
• At Turaif District in ad-Dir’iyah (Saudi Arabia)
• Australian Convict Sites (Australia)
• Jantar Mantar (India)
• Sheikh Safi al-Din Khānegāh and Shrine Ensemble in Ardabil (Islamic Republic of Iran)
• Tabriz Historic Bazaar Complex (Islamic Republic of Iran)
• Bikini Atoll (Marshall Islands)
• The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long-Hanoi (Vietnam)
• Historic Villages of Korea: Hahoe and Yangdong (Republic of Korea)
• Historic monuments of Dengfeng, in the Centre of Heaven and Earth (China)
• Sarazm (Tajikistan)
• Episcopal city of Albi (France)
• 17th-century canal ring area inside the Singelgracht, Amsterdam (Netherlands)
• Camino Real de Tierra Adentro (Mexico)
• Prehistoric caves of Yagul and Mitla in the Central Valley of Oaxaca (Mexico)
• São Francisco Square in the town of São Cristovão (Brazil)
• China Danxia
• Phoenix Islands Protected Area (Kiribati)
• Pitons, cirques and remparts of Reunion Island (France)
Extensions to the World Heritage List:
• Upper Harz Water Management System (Germany) (extension of Mines to Rammelsberg and Historic Town of Goslar)
• Røros Mining Town and the Circumference (Norway) (extension of Røros Mining Town)
• City of Graz – Historic Centre and Schloss Eggenberg (Austria) (extension of City of Graz – Historic Centre)
• Church of the Resurrection of Suceviţa Monastery (Romania) (extension of the Churches of Moldavia)
• Paleolithic Rock-Art Ensemble in Siega Verde (Spain) (extension of Prehistoric Rock Art Sites in the Côa Valley (Portugal)
• Pirin National Park (Bulgaria) (extension)