Australia takes its role as an environmental and heritage advocate seriously - both in Australia and when working in partnership with other nations to share knowledge and experience to improve the protection of exceptional sites in the Asia-Pacific.
To date, Australia has assisted over 20 countries in the Asia-Pacific to improve the protection of exceptional cultural, historic and natural sites.
Australia has a wealth of experience in protected area management supported through decades of award winning work in the National Parks system as well as 20 World Heritage properties.
Australia's protected area management is underpinned by an effective legislative framework in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999 and supported by being one of the first signatories to the World Heritage Convention in 1974 which aims to protect sites of outstanding value throughout the world.
Sharing Australia's experience with the Asia-Pacific
The Asia-Pacific is diverse in cultural, historic and natural wonders, many of which can be found in developing countries with limited protection measures and capacity to care for such sites.
Through the Department of the Environment Australia continues to work with countries to:
- Share information and experience and further develop networks
- Exchange view on management issues
- Respond to specific requests
- Help promote best practice in heritage management; and
- Help to identify funding for World Heritage activities through the Pacific Heritage Hub
Australia works in this region by drawing together common interest such as:
- Our geographic proximity
- Our developing social and economic links and identity
- A collective desire to improve the protection of important ecological and heritage sites
- An agreement on the need to identify, protect and manage the region's rich cultural and natural heritage as well as living and strong Indigenous traditions
Promoting improved environmental governance in the region
Australia is an international leader in World Heritage and environmental protection management and has a key interest in the prosperity, security and development of our Asia-Pacific neighbours.
We have provided significant funding under a Memorandum of Understanding with the World Heritage Centre and through the World Heritage Fund to protect sites in developing countries.
Australia is currently working with partners to improve environmental management and assist in identifying and preparing key sites with World Heritage List potential in the Asia-Pacific region, including:
- Papua New Guinea
The Kokoda Initiative is an Australian and Papua New Guinea partnership for the protection of the Kokoda Track and improvement of the livelihoods of communities living along the Track.
- The Pacific Heritage Hub
The Pacific Heritage Hub has been established through Australian funds in trust and is hosted by the University of the South Pacific to assist Pacific Island countries to implement the World Heritage Convention in the Pacific region. This will be done by increasing communication networks, coordinating training opportunities and bringing together donors and projects.
Coral reef off East Rennell. Photo: Kate McMahon.
Australia has assisted over 20 countries in the Asia Pacific region, including:
- Solomon Islands
Strengthening Management Capacity in the East Rennell World Heritage Area - A Pacific Governance Support Programme activity funded by DFAT to build community level World Heritage governance capacity and sustainable management of natural resources.
Angkor World Heritage site - This project was part of Australia's program to build the capacity of countries in the Asia-Pacific region to better look after their very special World Heritage sites.
China Principles Project - more than a decade of collaboration between Australia, China and the Getty Conservation Institute to develop guidelines for conservation of heritage sites in China
Enhancement of local Government Planning and Management Capacity at Lorentz National Park World Heritage Area, Irian Jaya (now Papua)
- Polynesia and Micronesia
Over $10M to projects to help prepare nominations for, and management of, world heritage and protected areas in the region.
Ongoing community based marine conservation efforts including educational workshops on marine resource planning, bringing technical assistance to village based conservation and management planning.
Assisting to prepare a case for World Heritage listing of a cluster of islands amongst the Cook, Kiribati and Line Islands.