The Guardian July 14, 1999


KAKADU:
Cowardly capitulation the fight goes on

              * * *

A statement by the Wilderness Society

In a dramatic capitulation to intense pressure from the Australian 
Government, the World Heritage Committee failed to list Kakadu as "in 
danger" at its meeting in Paris on Monday, July 12.

As feared, the decision has dealt a body blow to the credibility of the 
World Heritage Committee and the World Heritage Convention.

In an unprecedented step the Committee ignored the unanimous and 
unequivocal advice of its scientific, cultural and technical experts and 
the devastating attack on the Office of the Supervising Scientist by ICSU* 
which established that only four of their 17 areas of concern had been 
addressed.

In so doing the authority of the advisory bodies and their capacity to 
assist with global World Heritage management has been irretrievably 
undermined.

While Australia's demolition job on the World Heritage Committee's 
integrity will be tragic for the protection of all World Heritage areas, it 
will only serve to strengthen the determination of the Australian community 
to stand up to the power of corporate greed and government might and stop 
the Jabiluka mine.

The scientific, cultural, technical and moral arguments have been won. It 
is a credit to the courage of the World Heritage Advisory bodies that they 
have been able to withstand the enormous pressure and relentless attacks 
from the Australian Government.

*ICSU is the International Council for Science which was brought in as an 
independent scientific body.

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