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UNESCO Highlights Climate Change Threats to Cultural Property in Kiribati

UNESCO21 January 2012: The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has reported on the threats posed by climate change to the cultural property of Kiribati.

UNESCO underscored the particular vulnerablility of Kiribati to the impacts of climate change, including coastal erosion, water salinisation and sea level rise. It further underlined that the outcome of the Durban UN Climate Change Conference "was disappointing" since parties agreed to talks on a new climate change agreement with legal force by 2015 to be ratified by 2020.

Noting the threats posed by climate change and sea level rise to stone monuments located in Nnabakana, Tabiteuea, one of the southern islands of Kiribati, UNESCO described recent steps taken towards their protection. These monuments, together with associated stories of battles that were fought among islands around the 16th century, are part of the country's tangible and intangible cultural heritage. UNESCO expressed the hope that safeguarding the Nnabakana site will help Kiribati to further advocate for the emergency of its situation, paving a way for long-term solutions, for example, by nominating the heritage for international recognition under the UNESCO Culture Conventions. [UNESCO Press Release]