McGuinness Trust Article

UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Biosphere Reserves and MPA’s

At the recent World Parks Congress in Australia in 2014, a recommendation was made to urgently increase the area that is managed in systems of marine Protected Areas (MPAs) to at least 30% of each marine habitat, which has no extractive activities. This is an increase in the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Target for just 10% of marine areas to be conserved in MPAs by 2020, of which NZ is also currently falling well short.

Recent pronouncements by the NZ Government of a possible Recreational Fishing Park for the Marlborough Sounds will do little, if anything, to help reach these essential targets. With 20% of the NZ coastline at our door, Guardians of the Sounds, believe we should be making greater use of International legislation that NZ has already signed up to.

To this end, as well as seeking a significant increase in the areas protected as Marine Reserves in the Sounds, Guardians of the Sounds is championing and actively seeking funds for the region to be nominated as NZ’s first UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

NZ remains one of the few first world nations that still has no Biospheres.

Guardians of the Sounds is also advocating International recognition of the area’s special values and community, including historical maritime first connections with Polynesian and European colonisation, through UNESCO World Heritage site nomination within the Biosphere.

Guardians of the Sounds is also aware that UNESCO is currently developing international cooperation projects with member states to demonstrate space technology applications for the conservation, management and sustainable development of UNESCO designated places, in particular World Heritage sites and Biosphere Reserves.