Today, Parks Canada issued the following statement on the release of the draft decision for the World Heritage Committee on the state of conservation of Wood Buffalo National Park World Heritage Site:
“The Government of Canada recognizes the Outstanding Universal Value of Canada’s 19 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is committed to their ongoing protection.
At the request of the World Heritage Committee, the Government of Canada, in collaboration with provincial and territorial governments, Indigenous communities, and stakeholders developed an Action Plan to protect Wood Buffalo National Park World Heritage Site. The Action Plan includes over 140 measures to increase protection of ecosystems, improve understanding and water management of the Peace-Athabasca Delta, strengthen relationships with Indigenous partners, and to support the recovery of iconic species for which the World Heritage Site was established, such as Whooping Cranes and Wood Bison.
On June 7, 2019, the UNESCO World Heritage Centre released a draft decision on the state of conservation of Wood Buffalo National Park World Heritage Site. This draft decision recognizes the significant effort and investment that Canada and its partners have made to strengthen the protection and management of the World Heritage Site, including the Government of Canada’s investment of $27.5 million through Budget 2018 to support the development of the Action Plan and its early implementation.
The draft decision also welcomes the creation of new Wildland Provincial Parks by the Government of Alberta, which contribute to the conservation of more than 6.7 million hectares of boreal forest, the largest contiguous protected boreal forest in the world. These protected areas provide significant buffers and landscape connectivity to Wood Buffalo National Park World Heritage Site.
Wood Buffalo National Park is not currently expected to be inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger. While acknowledging that there is more work to be done, the draft decision affirms the Government of Canada’s commitment to the on-going protection and management of Canada’s largest national park and World Heritage Site. The Government of Canada, and its partners will continue to work together to advance the measures outlined in the Action Plan.
Implementation of the Action Plan to protect Wood Buffalo National Park World Heritage Site is already underway, making use of the best available science and Indigenous knowledge. Through these efforts, the Government of Canada is confident that the Outstanding Universal Value of Wood Buffalo National Park World Heritage Site will be preserved so that it remains a treasured place for generations to come.
The Government of Canada looks forward to receiving the World Heritage Committee’s formal decision on the state of conservation of Wood Buffalo National Park World Heritage Site at the upcoming 43rd session of the World Heritage Committee.”