Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today (July 30) welcomed the decision of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee to once again add Everglades National Park to the List of World Heritage in Danger,
symbolizing both the United States’ commitment to the restoration of
the Everglades ecosystem and the administration’s efforts to restore the
role of sound science in the decision-making process.
The Everglades has been on the World Heritage List since 1979. After
Hurricane Andrew struck, the committee placed the park on the List of
World Heritage in Danger in 1993, based on concerns regarding the
deterioration of its ecological integrity. The park was removed from the
danger list in 2007 at the request of the previous administration. The
Obama administration asked the committee to put the park back on the
“The Everglades remains one of our world’s most treasured — and
most threatened — places,” Salazar said. “The federal government must
once again stand up and meet its responsibilities to Everglades
restoration so that one day we can remove the park from the list of
sites that in danger.”
“With the President’s strong commitment to restoration through the
budget and through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, there is
hope for a new day in the Everglades,” he said.
President Obama has substantially increased federal support for
Everglades restoration, the largest ecosystem restoration project in
The 21-nation World Heritage Committee oversees the list of World
Heritage Sites that are of significant cultural or natural importance to
the common heritage of humanity. Sites that are deemed to be in
jeopardy are placed on the danger list.
The list is intended to focus attention and, thereby, resources of
the international community and encourage action to address those
The committee currently is meeting in Brasilia, Brazil. The
request to add the Everglades to the danger list was met with a very
positive reception from the members of the World Heritage Committee.
Many publicly congratulated the United States for demonstrating
leadership in using the danger list as it was originally intended, a
tool for raising international awareness about threats to World Heritage
sites and galvanize world-wide support to address those threats.