Designation of Papahänaumokuäkea Marine National Monument as a World Heritage site

Designation of Papahänaumokuäkea Marine National Monument as a World Heritage site

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 30, 2010

HONOLULU, HAWAI‘I (July 30, 2010) The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) said today the vote by the United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) to inscribe Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument as one of 890 World Heritage mixed (natural and cultural) sites in the world is an important recognition for Hawai‘i and the Native Hawaiian culture. The vote also establishes the Monument as the largest site in the world, and the first mixed, as well as the first marine, World Heritage Site in the nation.

“We are very proud of this historic inscription,” said Haunani Apoliona, chairperson of the OHA Board of Trustees. “This event proves what OHA has always supported, which is the need to recognize and protect what is culturally, spiritually and naturally important to Native Hawaiians. With this international backing, Papahānaumokuākea will be preserved for future generations of Hawai‘i and the world.”

UNESCO’s World Heritage mission includes:

  • encouraging nations to establish management plans and set up reporting systems on the state of conservation of their World Heritage sites;
  • helping nations safeguard World Heritage properties by providing technical assistance and professional training;
  • providing emergency assistance for World Heritage sites in immediate danger;
  • supporting nations’ public awareness-building activities for World Heritage conservation;
  • encouraging participation of the local population in the preservation of their cultural and natural heritage; and
  • encouraging international cooperation in the conservation of our world’s cultural and natural heritage.

With an area of nearly 140,000 square miles Papahānaumokuākea is home to over 7,000 marine species, one quarter of which is found only in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. OHA has firmly supported the Monument’s mission to achieve strong, long-term protection and perpetuation of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands’ ecosystems, Native Hawaiian traditional, customary cultural and religious practices and management and heritage resources.

For more information on the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, visit www.papahanaumokuakea.gov

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Media Relations and Messaging Manager
Office: 808-594-1982
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Papahänaumokuäkea Marine National Monument
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Ulua and nenue are some of the many marine creatures seen by the expedition members, who visited the three most southeastern of Northwestern Hawaiian Islands aboard the NOAA research vessel Hi’ialakai. – Photo: Courtesy of James Watt and NOAA

The Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument is one of the largest marine conservation areas in the world, encompassing close to 140,000 square miles of the Pacific Ocean.

It is home to over 7,000 marine species, one quarter of which are found only in Hawai‘i, such as the green sea turtle and the Hawaiian monk seal.

Created by Presidential proclamation in June 2006, Papahānaumokuākea is controlled by three co-trustees – the U. S. Department of Commerce, the U. S. Department of the Interior and the State of Hawai‘i.

The co-trustee agencies, in cooperation with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, manage the monument through the Monument Management Board.

The United States announced its nomination of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Centre for consideration for inscription on the World Heritage List.

Earlier this month, the OHA Board of Trustees voted to urge the co-trustees to include OHA as a fourth co-trustee and request the administration in Washington D.C. address concerns and issues raised by OHA on behalf of the Hawaiian community.

This Board decision was based on discussions with beneficiaries that OHA reviewed closely, weighing all the pros and the cons of requesting a deferral to the decision to designate the site as a World Heritage site. The Board will continue to support the nomination.

OHA firmly supports the Monuments mission to achieve strong, long-term protection and perpetuation of the North Western Hawaiian Islands’ ecosystems, Native Hawaiian traditional, customary cultural and religious practices, and heritage resources for current and future generations.

For more information on the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, visit their website at papahanaumokuakea.gov

To view the Papahānaumokuākea Nomination Booklet, click here. (40.6 MB)

To download a PDF of the World Heritage-Fact Sheet, click here. (5.2 MB)

To download a PDF of Frequently Asked Questions, click here. (68 KB)