HOME > Magazine
IUCN and HIST use space technology to protect world heritage sites
Guo Huadong (left) andBruno Oberlesigned a Memorandum of Understanding through an online ceremony to advance collaboration on applying space technologies to monitor and protect natural world heritage sites on July 7, 2022. [Photo provided to China Daily]
On July 7, Guo Huadong, director of the International Center on Space Technologies for Natural and Cultural Heritage under the auspices of UNESCO, and Bruno Oberle, general director of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, signed a Memorandum of Understanding through an online ceremony to advance collaboration on applying space technologies to monitor and protect natural world heritage sites. The cooperation will support the implementation of the World Heritage Convention which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.
Natural world heritage sites represent some of the most iconic and precious natural places on Earth. Listed by the World Heritage Convention, these are places considered to be of outstanding universal value which the international community has committed to protecting for present and future generations. However, many of these sites are facing increasing threats and are in need of accurate and up-to-date monitoring to improve protection and management.
Space technology, and in particular satellite-based earth observation, plays an important role through their capacity to remotely monitor key characteristics of the environment, such as land-use change, which can often be done at a global scale. Under the MOU between HIST and IUCN, a formal framework for cooperation has been agreed upon and will be realized through institutional programs, research projects and capacity development activities focused on applying the latest earth observation technologies and tools for research and conservation. Both institutions are committed to advancing five priority areas of collaboration: world heritage nomination research and analyses, provision of high quality satellite data for monitoring World Heritage, improving and completing a global spatial database on natural World Heritage sites, and capacity building and knowledge exchange.
"By signing both agreements, HIST and IUCN forge a comprehensive strategic partnership for the conservation of natural World Heritage sites and convey a very strong signal to the world that we are united to offer global public goods and services in support of the implementation of the World Heritage Convention, as well as the Convention on Biological Diversity and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development," says Guo.
Oberle says: "I am pleased to formalize the first-ever collaboration between IUCN and HIST on space technologies for World Heritage conservation. This collaboration will greatly improve and strengthen IUCN's capacities in this critical area, and will also reinforce China's global leadership in World Heritage."