[Coral-List] World Heritage NOmination - Northwestern Hawaiian Islands

Donald Potts potts at biology.ucsc.edu
Thu Mar 20 14:26:55 EDT 2008

Since I haven't seen announcements elsewhere, I am forwarding the text of 
a Press Release from the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument 
(Northwestern Hawaiian Islands) announcing the intention of the United 
States to nominate the region this year as a World Heritage Site.

Personally, I really welcome this recognition by U.S. government agencies 
that these largely undisturbed, isolated reefs and islands are important 
to the entire international (global) community, above and beyond the 
values already recognized at national and state levels.

A very short 15-day public comment period ends next week, on Friday, 28 
March. If you believe (as I do) in the importance of this commitment to 
the international community, I suggest that you should submit a supporting 
comment before the end of next week.

  Comments should be mailed to:
 	Jonathan Putnam,
 	Office of International Affairs,
 	National Park Service,
 	1201 Eye Street, NW (0050),
 	Washington, D.C. 20005
  or electronically mailed to:

For Immediate Release March 19, 2008

Hawai`I's Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument
Considered for Initial Nomination to World Heritage List

Once a little-known area that received scant attention from even Hawai`i 
residents, the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands are now being recognized for 
their significant natural and cultural resources on a national and 
international scale. The National Park Service, on behalf of the United 
States, today announced its proposal to nominate Papahanaumokuakea Marine 
National Monument as one of two initial U.S. nominations to the World 
Heritage List. The notice opens a 15-day public comment period regarding 
the proposal to nominate this site.

"We are honored to be considered as one of the first sites to be nominated 
for World Heritage status by the United States in more than 15 years," 
said Athline Clark, State Superintendent for the Monument. "We hope our 
many supporters will take the time to encourage the National Park Service 
to nominate Papahanaumokuakea."

On January 24, the Secretary of the Interior announced a new U.S. World 
Heritage Tentative List, the first new list since 1982. The 14 U.S. sites 
included on the list are now eligible to be considered for nomination by 
the United States to the UNESCO World Heritage List, which recognizes the 
most significant cultural and natural treasures on the planet. These sites 
can be considered for formal nomination over the next 10 years.

Today's action would allow the development of two nominations - for 
Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument and Mount Vernon, Virginia - 
over the coming months. They would be formally submitted to the World 
Heritage Center by January 30, 2009. The World Heritage Committee would 
consider the nominations no earlier than the summer of 2010.

Papahanaumokuakea is the only site on the Tentative List nominated for 
both its cultural and natural resources. Native Hawaiians view the 
Northwestern Hawaiian Islands as an integral part of the archipelago and 
as a deeply spiritual location. Physical remnants of wahi kupuna 
(ancestral places), and oral and written accounts provide evidence of the 
various past uses of the islands and surrounding ocean by Native Hawaiians 
both as a home and a place of worship.

The Monument contains one of the world's most significant marine and 
terrestrial ecosystems, representing a major stage of the earth's 
evolutionary history, an outstanding example of significant on-going 
geological processes, and significant habitats where rare and endangered 
plant and animal species still survive. It is home to more than 7,000 
marine species, a quarter of which are found nowhere else on Earth, and 
includes nearly pristine coral reefs, the largest nesting albatross colony 
in the world, and the primary habitat for critically endangered Hawaiian 
monk seals and threatened green turtles.

Comments on whether to nominate any of the properties on the new Tentative 
List, including Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument and Mount 
Vernon, will be accepted by the National Park Service until March 28. 
Comments should address the qualifications of the properties proposed for 
nomination. Comments should be mailed to Jonathan Putnam, Office of 
International Affairs, National Park Service, 1201 Eye Street, NW (0050), 
Washington, D.C. 20005 or electronically mailed to 

World Heritage Sites are designated under the World Heritage Convention. 
The United States was the prime architect of the Convention, an 
international treaty for the preservation of natural and cultural heritage 
sites of global significance proposed by President Richard M. Nixon in 
1972, and was the first nation to ratify it. Currently, 851 sites have 
been designated in 140 of the 184 signatory countries, including 20 World 
Heritage sites within the United States. Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park 
is the only World Heritage site within Hawai`i and was designated in 1987.

Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument is managed jointly by three 
co-trustees - the Department of Commerce, Department of the Interior, and 
the State of Hawai`i - and represents a cooperative conservation approach 
to protecting the entire ecosystem. The Monument area includes the 
Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve, Midway Atoll 
National Wildlife Refuge/Battle of Midway National Memorial, Hawaiian 
Islands National Wildlife Refuge, Kure Atoll Wildlife Sanctuary, and 
Northwestern Hawaiian Islands State Marine Refuge.

As part of the global campaign to raise awareness about the value and 
importance of the coral reefs and threats to their sustainability, 2008 
has been dedicated as the International Year of the Reef. Join 
Papahanaumokuakea in this worldwide celebration and learn more on how to 
care about your coral reefs at www.iyor-hawaii.org. For additional 
information on the Monument, please visit www.hawaiireef.noaa.gov or 


   Donald C. Potts

   Director - CDELSI
      (Center for the Dynamics and Evolution of the Land-Sea Interface)

   Professor of Biology
   Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
       & Institute of Marine Sciences

   A316 Earth & Marine Sciences Building        Office:  (831) 459-4417
   University of California                     Lab:     (831) 459-5063
   Santa Cruz                                   Fax:     (831) 459-4882
   California  95064  U.S.A.              Email: potts at biology.ucsc.edu

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