POSTPONED: UNESCO World Heritage Committee NGO Roundtable: Wood Buffalo National Park

June 3, 2016 - 9:00pm to 11:30pm


…Parks Canada has sent an official request to the World Heritage Centre to postpone the reactive monitoring mission to Wood Buffalo National Park in light of the severe impacts of the Fort McMurray fire and the ongoing state of emergency across the region.  This decision was informed by consultations with a number of different partners involved in the mission, including the Mikisew Cree First Nation and the Government of Alberta. As we considered the appropriate timing for this mission, we were concerned that we might pose an additional burden on some of the communities that have accepted evacuees if we were to proceed with the May 26-June 4 dates. 

From: Ashley Campbell, Heritage Designations and Programs, Parks Canada

As you may be aware, the Mikisew Cree First Nation filed a petition to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in December 2014 to request that Wood Buffalo National Park be added to the List of World Heritage in Danger. The petition identified a number of concerns related to the impacts of current and planned hydroelectric dams, oil sands development, and climate change on the ecology and hydrology of the Peace-Athabasca Delta. 

In response, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee requested the Government of Canada to invite experts from the World Heritage Centre (WHC) and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to conduct a reactive monitoring mission to Wood Buffalo National Park. Parks Canada is responsible for organizing this mission. Mr. Tilman Jaeger will represent the WHC and Dr. Stephen Davis will represent the IUCN.

The experts will have an opportunity to travel to Fort Smith (May 26 to 29), Fort Chipewyan (May 29 to June 2), Fort McMurray (June 2 to 3) and Edmonton (June 3 to 4) and meet with a wide range of Indigenous Peoples, federal/provincial/territorial officials, industry representatives, NGOs, and other stakeholders.

To provide an opportunity for people to participate in the mission, Parks Canada is proposing to hold a community meeting in Fort Smith (7:00 PM at Roaring Rapids Hall on May 26) as well as a roundtable meeting with NGOs in Edmonton (3:00 to 5:30 PM on June 3 at the Holiday Inn Express in Downtown Edmonton). The Mikisew Cree First Nation will be hosting a community supper at the community hall in Fort Chipewyan on the evening of May 30 (tentatively scheduled to begin at 6:30 PM).

I would be grateful if you could please let me know by May 13 if someone from your organization would like to take part in the roundtable meeting with NGOs in Edmonton so that we can make logistical arrangements and confirm the participant list.  

Should you have any questions or require any further information about the upcoming reactive monitoring mission please do not hesitate to contact me by phone at 819-420-9258 or email at [email protected].   I look forward to confirming your participation in this event.


Holiday Inn Express
10010 104 Street NW
Edmonton , AB