ARCS World Heritage International Programme
Educating Extractive Industries
Extractive Industries pose a significant and growing threat to Natural World Heritage sites.
One in every four African natural World Heritage sites is threatened by mining. Virunga National Park (Democratic Republic of Congo), Virgin Komi Forest (Russian Federation) and The Great Barrier Reef (Australia) are all threatened by the activities of extractive industries. At the Saint Petersburg 2012 meeting of the World Heritage Committee the boundaries of Selous World Heritage site (Tanzania) were altered to facilitate a massive Russian owned uranium mine.
Building understanding and acceptance amongst major national and multi-national corporations that World Heritage Areas must be ‘No Go Zones’ for industrial activities is a major campaign goal. This is a major theme both for WILD 10 and the World Parks Congress next year. The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) has largely accepted this goal, although its position and advocacy role needs to be strengthened.The move by ICMM has been prompted either by first hand experience of ‘Brand Damage’ from effective campaigns or changes in policy and regulations affecting company operations, again as a result of effective, well resourced and coordinated campaigns. IUCN has also put enormous effort into helping achieve the progress to date.
Increasing the ability of a wider range of ENGO’s to capitalize on and work with the Advisory bodies to oppose activities that damage or threaten World Heritage Sites has the potential to change behavior of major corporations where their Brand matters.
Documenting the success stories &msah; past and future — for example, stopping further uranium mining in Kakadu, logging in extensions to the TWWHA and gold mining in Yellowstone; and the current campaign aimed at preventing gas and oil exploration in Virunga, would help provide a campaign guide and indicative tool box for civil society and the World Heritage Network.
A potent ENGO World Heritage Network would support and publicise recommendations from the Advisory Bodies in relation to damaging activities with financiers, shareholders and markets. Broader, in-principle guidance for financiers, shareholders and markets could also be developed to build a broad constituency to influence long-term policy change at the corporate level.
Building permanent capacity for NGO’s to persuade companies to abandon damaging projects could involve advice, training, assistance creating global alliances and seed funding to increase the effectiveness of under resourced NGO’s to help protect World Heritage sites.
There will of course be synergies between work to encourage change in corporate behavior and work to strengthen adherence by government parties to the intent of the World Heritage Convention.