Doñana National Park under scrutiny

Doñana National Park was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1994, but there is a possibility that this status could be withdrawn, being replaced by one of ‘area at risk’.

The Standing Committee of the World Heritage Convention of UNESCO is currently meeting in Brasilia and Doñana National Park is on the agenda.

There is grave concern being expressed by several organisations about the state of conservation of the park and this could lead to a change of status.

Problems facing Doñana include:

  • Quantity and poor quality of the waters
  • Proliferation of illegal wells
  • Over-exploitation of the Almonte marshlands
  • Proposal to divert traffic on the A-348
  • Proposal to route an oil pipeline through the area
  • Installation of new thermal power plants in the marshes

In addition, Project Doñana 2005, a conservation project for the area, has been paralyzed for several years and, apparently, there have been no meetings for the past four years.

UNESCO could declare Doñana a ‘risk area’ or could withdraw the title of World Heritage Site. In Germany, Dresden lost its World Heritage Site status following the construction of a four-lane bridge in the Elbe valley.

However, it is not only UNESCO who are looking into Doñana. Both the European Parliament and the European Commission have also received complaints about the state of the park.

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