World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


IUCN welcomes Total’s ‘no-go’ commitment

IUCN welcomes Total’s ‘no-go’ commitment in World Heritage sites

Gland, Switzerland, 3 February 2014 Oil and gas company Total has confirmed that it will not carry out extractive operations within natural World Heritage sites, including Virunga National Park. IUCN welcomes this decision and calls on all oil and gas companies to follow suit.

IUCN, which is the official advisory body to UNESCO on natural World Heritage, has made repeated calls in the past on extractive industries and governments that licence their activities to stop oil and gas exploration and exploitation within World Heritage sites. Until now, Royal Dutch Shell plc was the only oil and gas company to have made such a commitment. Total’s commitment has now been officially communicated in a letter to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre.

Total’s commitment clearly shows that operating in World Heritage sites is not an option for responsible extractive industries,” says Julia Marton-Lefèvre, IUCN Director General. “It gives us hope that the oil and gas, and mining sectors as a whole will fully embrace their shared responsibility towards the conservation of our planet’s most valuable and irreplaceable places. We call on all extractive companies, and the governments who regulate them, to declare World Heritage sites as ‘no-go’ zones.”

Threats from the extractive industry are particularly serious in Africa, where one in four natural sites is affected. Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been at highest risk in recent years, after the Congolese Government granted permits to carry out exploration in the park.

Total’s ‘no-go’ commitment takes some of the pressure off Virunga National Park. It also indicates that the company will respect the current boundaries of the park even if part of the park’s protection is removed. Despite Total’s announcement, another UK-based company SOCO is pursuing extractive operations in an area overlapping Virunga.

State Parties to the World Heritage Convention and private companies need to respect the long-established principle that World Heritage sites are off-limits for the extractive industry,” says Tim Badman, Director of IUCN World Heritage Programme. “We welcome Total’s positive step towards the protection of natural World Heritage, and in particular for Virunga National Park and its spectacular wildlife.”

Virunga National Park is home to some 100 remaining mountain gorillas and ranks as one of the top biodiversity sites in Africa. It was established in 1925 as Africa’s first national park and in 1979 became one of the first World Heritage sites. It also features on the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.

Despite being listed as a World Heritage site in Danger for 20 years, threats to the park remain highly critical and include oil exploration, armed conflict, illegal wildlife trade and occupation.

Global response to the threats affecting World Heritage sites and other protected areas around the world will be discussed at the forthcoming IUCN World Parks Congress, to be held in from 12-19 November 2014 in Sydney, Australia.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Myanmar Election: UNICEF Urges Prioritisation Of Children

With 99 days to go before Myanmar elections, UNICEF urges candidates make children the clear winner More>>

Liberia Thousands Of Unregistered Children Born During Ebola Crisis

Thousands of unregistered children born in Liberia during Ebola crisis at risk of exploitation – UNICEF More>>

UN Refugee Agency Envoy Angelina Jolie Visits Myanmar

UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie Pitt (left) in Myitkyina township, Kachin State, Myanmar, meeting with some of the 100,000 displaced people who currently live there. Photo: UNHCR/T.Stoddart More>>

As Health Needs Rise In Somalia, Funding Hits New Low

As health needs rise in Somalia, funding hits new low, cutting off 1.5 million from care – UN More>>

Need To End Violence Against Children In Conflict

‘We should be outraged’ more not being done to end violence against children in conflict – UNICEF chief More>>

On Mandela Day, UN Joins Call To Promote Community Service

Nelson Mandela, then Deputy President of the African National Congress of South Africa, raises his fist in the air while addressing the Special Committee Against Apartheid in the General Assembly Hall. UN Photo/P. Sudhakaran More>>

Some $3.2 Billion Needed For Ebola Recovery Efforts

Some $3.2 billion needed for Ebola recovery efforts in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – UN More>>

World Day: UN Spotlights Plight Of Vulnerable Populalations

Syrian refugees fleeing the fighting near the Syrian city of Kobani wait in a holding area before boarding buses in Turkey (September 2014). Photo: UNHCR /I. Prickett More>>

Afghanisatan: Direct Talks Between Government And Taliban

The United Nations Security Council has welcomed the recently held direct talks between Afghan Government and Taliban representatives as a step towards “peace and reconciliation” in the region. More>>

Eradicating World Hunger By 2030

Agriculture workers collect carrots on a farm in Chimaltenango, Guatemala. Photo: World Bank/Maria Fleischmann More>>

Bangladesh: Flood Leads To UN Agency Providing Food Relief

Anwar Hossain unloads cartons of High Energy Biscuits from a pickup truck and transfers them to a distribution center in Kawar Khop union, Ramu upazila, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Photo: WFP/Kamrul Mithon More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news