UNESCO Identifies Potential World Heritage Marine Sites in Western Indian Ocean
July 2012: The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has released a report assessing potential World Heritage marine sites in the Western Indian Ocean from an ecosystem perspective. The report was developed in anticipation of increased global interest in designating new marine World Heritage sites, and with the aim of piloting a more scientific and robust approach to identifying marine sites of potential Outstanding Universal Value (OUV).
The report is the result of the project "Assessing potential World Heritage marine sites in the Western Indian Ocean," which initiated a new approach in the Western Indian Ocean, an area with unique and age-old geological processes currently under-represented on the World Heritage List, UNESCO notes.
The report has four main parts. The first provides basic guidance on World Heritage for the region and in relation to marine systems. The second outlines the methodology that can be undertaken in future regional assessments elsewhere. The third and fourth sections identify the features and sites in the Western Indian Ocean that the study determined to be of potential OUV.
The two primary areas identified in the report are: the Mozambique Channel, which is under the jurisdiction of Mozambique, Madagascar, Comoros, Tanzania and France; and the Mascarene Plateau, which is under the joint jurisdiction of Mauritius and Seychelles.
Additional unique features and areas mentioned in the report are: Kiunga-Lamu archipelago, Kenya; Antongil Bay, Madagascar; the Kwazulu-Natal Sardine Run, South Africa; and the Kerguelen-Crozet archipelagos. [Project Website] [Publication: Assessing Marine World Heritage from an Ecosystem Perspective: The Western Indian Ocean]