When the UNESCO World Heritage Committee (WHC) meets from July 16 to 31, they will be tasked with addressing urgent threats to some of the world’s most treasured sites of priceless natural and cultural heritage. Among the issues the committee must confront is the growing threat that dams pose to some of the world’s most iconic World Heritage sites. A recent study found that over 500 dams under construction or planned worldwide would be built in protected areas, while dams and other water infrastructure projects threaten at least 80 World Heritage sites. This number is only expected to grow as dam developers, faced with a dwindling number of viable hydro sites, pursue increasingly reckless projects such as the Batang Toru dam, which experts say could precipitate the extinction of the newly discovered Tapanuli orangutan. The increasing impact of dams on World Heritage sites has prompted a global outcry, most recently in the case of the Selous Game Reserve, a World Heritage site recognized as a biodiversity hotspot and one of the largest protected areas for African wildlife. The Tanzanian government’s decision to proceed with construction of the Julius Nyerere Dam in the Selous prompted a nearly unprecedented proposal from UNESCO to remove it from the list altogether.
More info at https://www.internationalrivers.org/news/our-world-heritage-is-deeply-tied-to-rivers-and-they-need-protection-from-dams/?emci=b36739d3-69f4-eb11-b563-501ac57b8fa7&emdi=b55517a1-7df4-eb11-b563-501ac57b8fa7&ceid=2008792