Wadden Sea children to take stage for marine World Heritage at UN

On 8 June 2017, children representing 49 marine World Heritage sites will call upon today’s leaders at the United Nations General Assembly to make a pledge to protect ocean sites for future generations.

About 30 children will take the stage in front of over 40 world leaders on World Oceans Day in the framework of the World Ocean Conference in New York. They will be joined by famous Ocean Elders, including Prince Albert II of Monaco. Four of the children, age 12 to 15, come from Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands, representing the Wadden Sea World Heritage.

The high-level “World Ocean Conference” will take place from 5 to 9 June 2017, coinciding with World Oceans Day, to support the implementation of UN Sustainable Development Goal 14. At noon on 8 June the group of children will take the stage. Two children will speak on the importance of protected oceans and launch a call to the world’s leaders to pledge to protect the oceans for future generations on behalf of the 49 marine World Heritage sites and their countries. This is followed by a compilation video with calls to pledge from children of the 49 marine World Heritage sites and a signing of the pledge by world leaders and Ocean Elders.

“The participation of four children from our World Heritage site underscores the global significance of the Wadden Sea”, says Rüdiger Strempel, Executive Secretary of the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat, “Not only is the Wadden Sea one of the crown jewels of our oceans, but its intact ecological system is vital for 10,000 species of plants and animals as well as 10-12 million migratory birds annually. Protecting it along with other highly important marine sites needs to be a joint responsibility.” One of the 49 marine World Heritage Sites, the Wadden Sea is the largest tidal flats system in the world, where natural processes are largely undisturbed. It extends along the coasts of Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark. To ensure the protection of the Wadden Sea, the three countries have been joining their conservation forces for almost 40 years. This is the first time that children from the three Wadden Sea countries attend such an international event together. Their participation is promoted by UNESCO’s Marine World Heritage Programme.