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 Papah?naumoku?kea 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
Contact: Lloyd Yonenaka
Media Relations and Messaging Manager