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 State Had Opposed The Unesco Label For Years

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PostSubject: State Had Opposed The Unesco Label For Years   Tue Jul 03, 2012 9:30 pm

State Had Opposed The Unesco Label For Years

TIMES NEWS NETWORK

Bangalore: Will the World Heritage Site status for the Western Ghats ensure better conservation of biodiversity in Karnataka
Environmentalists are quite skeptical about whether success will follow the tag,going by the state government's complete opposition to it in the past,and its lacklustre response to the new status.
Basically,we are not reacting as of now because we are waiting for the complete official text on the decision, said forest minister CP Yogeshwar.
The state government has been opposing the World Heritage Site tag,citing regulatory hurdles in the development of places falling under these regions,but the crux of the matter is that the Western Ghats is rich in mineral resources.The government had been under pressure from the mining and timber lobby in the state.Many of the people's representatives are also involved in the lucrative mining and timber business.
Without the active participation of the government,the World Heritage site tag is simply useless, said KM Chinnappa,president of Wildlife First.
In the past,the Western Ghats had failed at least on five occasions in the run-up to win the tag of World Heritage Site,the first being in 2007.The reason simply is the state government's lack of support. The government was raising the people and development card to avoid the Unesco heritage tag to protect the mafias, charged SN Girish,an environmentalist in Mysore.
In 2009,Karnataka had set up a Western Ghats Task Force to deal with the issues in the region but it has been relegated to a green mission campaign body,without giving it enough powers and funds.
International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN),in its recent report,had recommended implementing steps to better support local state conservation organizations in a collaborative and constructive manner,and it wanted the state to establish an overarching management authority to manage the 39 sites.But nothing happened on this front as the state government kept arguing that it would not allow a foreign agency to dictate terms over management of the Ghats.
Western Ghats Task Force chairman Ananth Hegde Ashishar sounded optimistic: The landscape of the Western Ghats encompasses biological and cultural characteristics that are so exceptional they are of importance to the present and future generations.The government is doing all it can to conserve it.The World Heritage site tag will only inspire us to do more."

WHAT THE TAG MEANS

What are the advantages of World Heritage tag

It helps raise awareness among citizens and governments for heritage preservation.Boosts tourism.While nominating an area for this World Heritage designation,a country/state commits to protecting that site in future.Following this,governments and foundations emphasize these sites in their own allocations of funding and assistance.As World Heritage sites are recognized as internationally important,international organizations often give priority to these sites in making financial grants and providing technical assistance.The heritage tag does not affect property rights of the sites.Unesco has,however,no power to force the local governments.


TIMES VIEW

Environmentalists can breathe easy now that the Western Ghats has been declared a World Heritage site.But they havent really won much as the state government has constantly opposed this heritage tag,claiming that Unesco will interfere in its eco-matters.The state may not back it up with green policies either.In such a scenario,conservationists will have to use it as a tool to raise public awareness to preserve biodiversity.After all,the Ghats is a crucial factor influencing the monsoon,which in turn shapes the economy.

WHAT UNESCO SAYS

The mountain chain contains a unique range of biodiversity and the mountains themselves are of significant importance.They are older than the Himalayas mountain range and have developed their own unique biophysical and ecological processes.The high forest of the mountains plays an important role in the monsoon season of India and helps to moderate the tropical climate of the area.It is home to hundreds of unique and endemic species and is home to at least 325 globally threatened flora,fauna,bird,amphibian,reptile and fish species.



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