Denmark’s Minister for Culture Marianne Jelved has signed an application to UNESCO to add the Danish Wadden Sea to the UN culture and education organization’s World Heritage List.
Sites inscribed on the World Heritage List are of unique cultural or natural interest. Among a current total of 962 UNESCO world heritage sites in 157 nations, they include sites as diverse as the Pyramids of Egypt and the Illulissat Icefjord in Greenland.
The coast of the Wadden Sea stretches out for more than 500 kilometers (310 miles) from Blåvands Huk in Jutland to Den Helder in the Netherlands. The German and Dutch parts of the Wadden Sea were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2009.
At the 2009 inscription, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee, which is responsible for the designation of world heritage sites, encouraged the countries along the Wadden Sea to prepare a common application to include the Danish part.
”The Wadden Sea has a unique and diverse nature in which many thousands of plant and animal species thrive,” says Jelved. “With the application to UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites, we are taking a step towards securing a piece of exceptional Danish nature.”
Jelved adds: “The application is the result of a broad collaboration among the Danish Agency for Culture, the Danish Nature Agency, the municipalities along the Wadden Sea, and German and Dutch authorities – and thus has backing from the entire area.”
According to the Danish Agency for Culture, the Wadden Sea represents an irreplaceable knowledge resource for biologists, geologists, historians and others, who take readings of the flora and fauna in the dynamic landscape and its influence on cultural environments.
It is the world’s largest continuous tidewater system, and plant and animal life has developed there in a multitude of ways. More than 10,000 plant and animal species have lived along the Wadden Sea and millions of migratory birds use the Wadden Sea as an indispensable stop-over for provisioning.
“If the Wadden Sea meets with UNESCO’s approval, there will be a fantastic opportunity to develop green tourism even more,” says the Danish Minister for the Environment, Ida Auken. “We, along with the municipalities and the Wadden Sea National Park, will be able to exploit the potential fully.”
The decision to accept the Danish Wadden Sea on UNESCO’s world heritage list will be made in June 2014.