Today, the world celebrates its natural and cultural heritage – at least we can all hope it does. Under the United Nations World Heritage Convention, places of unique cultural and natural beauty, value, and wonder are recognized formally as World Heritage Sites. This list of impressive places is by no means a way of excluding other incredible areas – it is simply one list recognized under international and domestic laws. In 2007, I participated in a legal petition to seek further protection for el Parque Internacional La Amistad, or PILA, a World Heritage Site shared between Panama and Costa Rica. PILA faces threats from development of hydroelectric dams, cattle ranching, roads, and other activities. Communities living on the outskirts of PILA raised the call for help, and their struggle continues to this day. A copy of that 2007 Petition is available here:
- Petition to the World Heritage Committee Requesting Inclusion of Talamanca Range-La Amistad Reserves/La Amistad National Park on the List of World Heritage In Danger (International Environmental Law Project, Lewis & Clark Law School, 2007)
The World Heritage Committee continues to assess this and other petitions. In honor of World Heritage Day, here are a few pictures from PILA.