Thursday, July 26, 2007

UNESCO removed a natural park in Oman from its list of world heritage sites

Unesco strips Oman site of heritage status Paris - Unesco on Thursday removed a natural park in Oman from its list of world heritage sites - the first time it has taken such a step since the list was created 35 years ago.
The decision to delete the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary from the list was taken after the Omani government reduced the size of the protected area by 90 percent, Unesco said in a statement from its Paris headquarters.
The UN cultural organization’s World Heritage Committee is meeting in New Zealand to consider new applicants to the prestigious list, as well as problem sites that risk losing their world heritage status.
"In 1996 the population of the Arabian Oryx in the site was 450 but it has since dwindled to 65 with only about four breeding pairs, making its future viability uncertain. This decline is due to poaching and habitat degradation," Unesco said." The Committee felt that the unilateral reduction in the size of the sanctuary and plans to proceed with hydrocarbon prosecution would destroy the value and integrity of the property, which is also home to other endangered species including, the Arabian gazelle and houbara bustard," it said.
The committee earlier this week placed Ecuador's Galapagos islands on an "endangered sites" list because of the threat from tourism and non-native species.


After reading this article. It made me wonder: -

- When did Oman reduce the "Arabian Oryx Sanctuary"??

I known for a long time now that Oman has one of the largest Arabian Oryx Sanctuary in the gulf, when did this change? us as Omani’s we have great pride in our heritage and the Arabian Oryx is one of the main things that we put our pride for it. How did he dare (The person who signed the reduction of the "Arabian Oryx Sanctuary" and turned it into an oil field production area. I am disappointed in such act.

- How come it wasn’t announced in the Omani local media??

As we all know the local media is decrease to so called media. They cover and hide every thing from the local population.

- Would his majesty do such a thing or as always things were done behind the sense!!!

Well I have nothing to say about this, every thing in Oman is done from behind of his majesty, every thing that people in power in Oman do is look for ways to improve their bank accounts number's and care less for other useless material to them. I would like to ask you people who do such acts, do you care about your country & heritage or you just care about the endless amount of cash that you would like to snap from the system.

Every time I hear such things I loss hope for our heritage to last for the next generation...


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Meticulousness said...

Activate the word verification option to prevent such comments from appearing.

However, I have been through this matter already and I do believe that our economic system is too fragile and such an incident would brighten us on how desperate the government is for its ‘oil thirst’.

muscati said...

The person who "dared" to sign on the reduction of the protected area is non other than the sultan. It was issued by royal decree, announced on the tv and published in the royal gazette earlier this year. No one in Oman made a noise about. Oman then sent a team to UNESCO's world heritage committee's meeting last month to discuss our request to keep the sanctuary as a world heritage site despite its reduced size. Oman had already gotten the support of what they thought to be enough countries on the committee to win approval. However some countries on the committee chose to make an example of Oman and made a big noise about it. Oman lost the decision by a single vote. If they had one more country on their side the oryx sanctuary would still be a heritage site. It was the countries that opposed it, I think mainly Canada, who are responsible for the press release that made it sound as if it was UNESCO that was punishing OMan, as if our country had done something in stealth and Unesco found out about it, not like Oman itself had gone their with a request.

The original size of the protected area was just about the size of Belgium. It was impossible to protect an area that large and the oryx never went to the larger area. The reduction of the protected area by 90% still leaves it about 4 times the size of the state of Bahrain and it is the same area which the oryx used to roam. So as far as the oryx are concerned, there is no change in the size of their area.

Unfortunately, Oman decided to keep quiet about this and didn't release any statements in its own defense.

You can read a lot of the details in the comments on my blog on this same topic.

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