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Preserving Biodiversity: A Grand Challenge for World Heritage

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Sunday 22nd May is celebrated as the International Day for Biological Diversity. On this occasion, the French Association of World Heritage Properties recalls the importance, even the necessity, of observing and preserving biodiversity, a major issue related, apart from natural sites, to all sites inscribed on the World Heritage List.

Of the 1,157 properties registered to date, some are distinguished by their rich biodiversity and are famous for this, such as the New Caledonian Lagoons or the Pitons, circles and ramparts of Reunion Island. However, it should not be overlooked that the preservation of our ecosystems is a concern of all World Heritage managers, regardless of the property category they help to protect and enhance. From the bats that live under the arches of the Pont du Gard, to the house swallows that live in the castles of the Loire Valley, there are many examples of this considering the organisms that disturb certain modes of thinking still tend too. Often to separate culture and nature. While the two are intrinsically linked. ” The originality of the 1972 Convention is that it was the first to consider cultural heritage and natural heritage to be of equal importance. A few months after the celebrations of its fiftieth anniversary ”explains Jean-François Caron, President of the French World Heritage Property Association. ” This specificity continues to make this international legal instrument an incredibly modern and innovative text. In view of the devastating effects of climate change, I am convinced that World Heritage properties have an essential role to play in raising awareness of the need to conserve biological diversity which is expressed, not only within natural properties, but also within cultural assets, in their great diversity (monuments, cities , cultural landscapes, etc.). The Climate Change Committee, chaired by the Coteaux estates, Maisons et Caves de Champagne, accurately testifies to this dynamism and this mobilization of our French estates, resolutely determined to act for the future of our planet. “.

Since 2007, the French Association of World Heritage Properties brings together managers of French properties inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, concerned with improving and strengthening the quality of protection of their properties, sharing ideas on public policies conducted in France and collaborating with all the cultural and natural sites of the international community that make up world heritage, while working to enhance it.

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