24 June 2014- The Philippines was honored yesterday, June 23, as Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary was officially inscribed on the prestigious United Nations Educations, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage List.
The decision was approved by the World Heritage Committee currently holding its 38th session in Doha, Qatar from June 15 to 25.
The Philippines’ nomination was praised as “exemplary” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) during the deliberations.
Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary is the 6th site of the Philippines and the first property from Mindanao to be inscribed on the World Heritage List. It is also the first mountain in the Philippines to be included in the coveted list.
The head of the Philippine delegation, Philippine Ambassador and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO Ma. Theresa P. Lazaro, welcomed the Committee's recognition of the mountain's outstanding universal value. She thanked the Members of the Committee, the advisory bodies, particularly the IUCN, and the World Heritage Center Secretariat for their support.
In her remarks to the plenary session, Ambassador Lazaro stated that the diversity of plants and animals in Mount Hamiguitan “include globally threatened species as well as species that exist only in the Philippines, only in Mindanao, and only in the nominated property.”
Ambassador Lazaro highlighted the meaningful collaboration between the communities and indigenous peoples groups, local and national government offices, and the World Heritage community in preparing the nomination.
Davao Oriental Governor Corazon Malanyaon was present at the inscription and told the Committee, “the conservation of this property is the Filipino people’s gift for the rest of humanity.”
She underscored Philippine authorities’ commitment to protect the site’s high level of endemic species of flora and fauna, some of which are critically endangered like the Philippine Eagle and the carnivorous pitcher plants.
“This inscription is a celebration of the global partnership in our shared vision and desire to conserve these natural gifts for future generations. It is also a step forward towards the continuation of monitoring and preserving the fragile ecosystems in the mountain amidst changing climate and typhoon patterns,” added the Governor.
In conclusion, she affirmed the resolve of local stakeholders to protect and conserve the site’s inscribed outstanding universal value and integrity. END