Unesco has opposed for the first time the bill presented by the PP and Vox to increase irrigation in the area of Doñana, a world heritage site since 1994. The international organization has clarified this Thursday that the proposal of the Andalusian right is ” contrary” to the recommendations that its experts have given in recent years to protect the reserve. Unesco’s pronouncement is highly relevant for two reasons: because the organization is positioning itself against the law in full parliamentary processing and it is a clear precedent before its world heritage committee decides in September whether to include Doñana on its list of enclaves in danger; and because after the European Commission, Unesco is the second international organization that notifies the Andalusian Government that its plans for Doñana go in the opposite direction to the protection of the park.
A month ago the Andalusian president, Juan Manuel Moreno, opened up to modifying the proposed law in what the European Commission asks him to change, after warning Brussels that he would fine Spain for failing to comply with EU environmental regulations. “It is susceptible to modifications and changes,” admitted Moreno.
Unesco already warned last April that it was closely monitoring the parliamentary initiative of the Andalusian right because it wanted to make sure that “its universal value” was protected. He then expressed his concern about the state of biodiversity in the reserve and called attention to the “growing scarcity of lagoons” and how it directly affected the populations of waterfowl and their “exceptional diversity, at serious risk.” Now, after the analysis of its experts, the organization charges against the plan defended by the Andalusian Junta and warns it that the solution is to implement the 2014 strawberry plan, which just now the Moreno government wants to modify with its bill .
“Following the field mission in January 2021 by experts from Unesco, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Ramsar convention for wetlands, the world heritage committee asked Spain to urgently underway of the strawberry plan [de 2014] in its current format. Regionally proposed legislative changes to this plan [en referencia a la actual proposición de ley] are therefore contrary to the requests of the committee [de la Unesco]”, reads the statement released this Thursday by the Paris-based organization.
Unesco warns in its statement that at the meeting of its committee in September it will decide on the necessary measures, which can range from reactivating a mission on the ground to as a last warning, the inscription of Doñana on the list of world heritage sites in danger, if the committee “considers that its essential characteristics are being threatened by confirmed, concrete and immediate dangers”.
Every time it defends the promotion of its regional law on the national park, the Andalusian Board insists that there is a campaign of hoaxes and lies orchestrated to delegitimize its initiative. If Doñana were to enter the list of endangered world heritage sites, it would have a clear and immediate effect on its ecological prestige, on tourism and on the commercial seal and of the area that concerns all products. The most affected would be the red berries that agriculture exports to all of Europe, since the scientists of the Biological Station and the world experts in birds have indicated irrigation as the main reason why the aquifer is below minimums and the biodiversity of the park is in critical condition.
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