Canada has failed to protect its largest World Heritage Site
Based upon a process initiated by Sierra Club BC, UNESCO released a report in 2016 strongly criticizing Canada for failing to protect Wood Buffalo National Park. The park risks the embarrassment of joining the list of UNESCO’s List of World Heritage in Danger due to impacts on the park from the Site C dam and tarsands development.
The report noted that impacts on the park are “far more complex and severe than previously thought.” It included 17 recommendations for Canada to address the threats the Park is facing from Site C dam, oil sands development and poor water governance. The federal government expressed its support for all but one of these recommendations, rejecting further assessment of the impact of Site C.
The park sits in the Peace-Athabasca Delta—the largest inland freshwater delta in the world, and downstream from the $9 billion (and counting) Site C megadam. Site C will reduce water flows in the Peace River, which threatens to dry up the park and the delta as a whole. This will compound damage being done by tarsands development in the region.
The Wood Buffalo area provides critical habitat for fish, moose, bison, and migratory birds including the endangered whooping crane. The Mikisew Cree, who have depended on this area for millennia, are highly concerned about the growing threats posed by reduced water levels and contamination in the delta. The Mikisew Cree and UNESCO are calling on Canada to make every effort to understand the possible impacts of Site C on this critical area.
On July 5 2017, UNESCO told Canada that if it does not follow through with this recommendation, the park could become Canada’s first World Heritage Site to be listed as “in danger.”
Fifty-five of the 1052 World Heritage Sites are currently listed as “in danger”—and the Government of Canada and Parks Canada must make sure Wood Buffalo National Park isn’t added to the list!
We need you to call on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to halt construction on the Site C Dam immediately while the federal government assesses the potential impacts of the dam, and of tar sands development, on Wood Buffalo National Park.
Call on Prime Minister Trudeau to act now!