They call on UNESCO to make a greater commitment to protecting biodiversity (+ photo)

UNESCO World Heritage Sites represent barely less than one percent of the planet’s surface, but they are home to more than a fifth of the richness of mapped species, including about 75,000 plants and 30,000 mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles.

Climate change and human action are generating threats to these refuges, which World Heritage Director Lazar Elondo Asomo has described as the last line of defense for biodiversity and many species at risk of extinction.

In a press conference in the capital, Asumu stressed that the report we are presenting is a call to action, to move forward in protecting these sites, while taking concrete measures for mitigation and adaptation, and supporting the actors present in them.

For the Director of UNESCO, protecting biodiversity is a major challenge of this century.

According to research, out of more than 100,000 species identified in World Heritage sites, at least 20,000 fall into the threatened category.

The list includes 66 percent of hard corals at risk of extinction, followed by birds (48), mammals (44), sharks and rays (35), marine fish (34), terrestrial invertebrates (32), and freshwater fish (23). Reptiles (22), amphibians (19), trees (16) and plants (4).

For his part, expert Tim Badman, Director of the Heritage and Culture Program at the International Union for Conservation of Nature, urged correcting the underestimation of the importance of World Heritage sites, given the loss of part of the biodiversity they host.

In this sense, he considers the UNESCO report on the subject an opportunity for action, taking measures such as integrating it into national plans to protect biodiversity.

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