Arrival

Arriving in Qatar, into the unknown, I realise more and more how remote the small island of Tasmania is.

What a privilege it is to have an intact natural ecosystem as rich as the ancient forests of Tasmania. What a privilege and responsibility is it to have the outstanding universal values of these forests listed as World Heritage.

As I stepped out of the airport into the searing heat of Doha, these were only some of the realisations that hit me about our planet and global community. 

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Delegation members Jenny Weber, Alec Marr, Lincoln Siliakis and Peter Hitchcock at the Convention Centre, Doha, where the World Heritage Committee meeting is taking place.

Today is day one of the 38th session of the World Heritage Committee, as delegates from every corner of the globe descend on the spectacular Qatar National Convention Centre to vote on cultural and natural heritage areas of global significance.

The small island of Tasmania is just one site of many that will be discussed. It's why I am here to observe how the World Heritage Committee votes on the application by the Australian Government to remove 74,000 ha from Tasmania's World Heritage Area.

At last night's opening ceremony we heard from the World Heritage Committee Chairperson H.E. Sheikha Al Mayassa bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani.

Her words of wisdom did strike me; it is imperative to take seriously the responsibility to safeguard and protect heritage. It is imperative for state parties to have the utmost commitment to the World Heritage Convention.

While the ecological processes are functioning in the forests right now, they are on the world stage and many people are watching. In the heat of the Arabian summer, while the ocean laps at this wild desert country, the delicate forest ecosystem of Tasmania's world heritage area will have its moment in the international spotlight.

It is compelling that in the foyer of the convention centre sits the largest Louise Bourgeois spider sculpture. For the artist the sculpture alludes to the strength of the mother, with metaphors of spinning, weaving, nurture and protection. That spectacular piece of art is a timely reminder that there are many international delegates here that consider protection of natural and cultural heritage as imperative. They look to weave a sense of nurture and protection into state parties' consideration of heritage

This seems lost on some members of the Australian Government right now, so we can only wait for the fate of our World Heritage forests in this next ten days, knowing that there is a excellent team of lobbyists for Tasmania's forests working hard here in Qatar.

Jenny Weber 


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  • commented 2014-06-19 08:38:17 +1000
    Wonderful report. So proud of your work Jenny.
  • commented 2014-06-18 09:30:04 +1000
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!