The United Nations body that oversees World Heritage Sites is approving a report that finds Wood Buffalo National Park’s place on that list is in danger.
At a meeting in Saudi Arabia, UNESCO delegates voted to approve an investigation that found the park remains under environmental threats from dam construction in British Columbia, oilsands development and climate change.
Delegates voted to recommend that Canada implement 17 recommendations in the report.
Five of those recommendations pertain specifically to threats posed by the oilsands, upstream of the park.
The report is the latest step in UNESCO’s ongoing examination of concerns originally expressed by the Mikisew Cree First Nation almost a decade ago.
In 2018, Ottawa developed a plan to revive the park and the report was an assessment of how well it’s working.
The report did not recommend removing the park from the list of World Heritage Sites but said about half of what makes it a special place is deteriorating.
Of 15 objectives for the park, UNESCO says two are improving, five are stable and seven are deteriorating.
Mikisew representative Melody Lepine told the delegates she hoped Canada would accept the new report as a chance to look back on progress while accepting more work needs to be done.
“We are hopeful your decision will be met by Canada in the spirit intended – an opportunity to reflect on areas of progress,” she said.
“But most critically to renew, rededicate and expand its commitment to save this vital area in full partnership with the Mikisew Cree.”