Amid fears for local environment, UNESCO makes first ever mission to Russia’s remote Arctic island of Wrangel; Atle Staalesen; The Independent Barents Observer

Russia – Natural System of Wrangel Island Reserve

Expanding oil industry and military activities could harm the UNESCO-protected island, experts say.

The mission headed by Francesco Bandarin, the UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture, arrived to the east Arctic island on 12 August, the UN agency informs.

The mission’s task was to assess the state of conservation of the area, as well as potential threats to its status as World Heritage site. Included in the mission were also two high-ranking officials from the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and State nature protection authority Rosprirodnadzor, the Russian Ministry informs.

The visit came after the World Heritage Committee in its 40th session in 2016 «expressed its utmost concern» over increased human presence and ongoing construction of facilities on the island. These activities could have a serious impact in the sensitive Arctic environment in the area, the organization makes clear in a report.

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