Canada subject to UNESCO expert review over threats to Wood Buffalo and indigenous communities

UNESCO Ten-day monitoring mission to hear from indigenous groups, scientists, and experts about impacts of hydroelectric and oil sands activities such as the Site C dam and proposed Teck Frontier Oil Sands Mine.

EDMONTON, Sept. 25, 2016 /CNW/ - The UNESCO World Heritage Committee starts a 10-Day monitoring mission on Sunday to Wood Buffalo National Park.

This mission comes one year after UNESCO expressed concern about "… the environmental impacts on the Peace-Athabasca Delta from hydro-electric dams, oil sands development, and proposed open-pit mining in the vicinity of the property…" and  "… lack of engagement with indigenous communities in monitoring activities, as well as insufficient consideration of traditional ecological knowledge…"

Read the one-page UNESCO decision here and UNESCO's mission press release here.

Available for phone or Skype interview from Fort Smith around 4 pm Mountain  Time Sunday: Chief Steve Courtoreille and Melody Lepine, Mikisew Cree First Nation (MCFN). The MCFN petitioned UNESCO to visit and are participating in the mission. To schedule an interview, contact Heather Badenoch, 613-859-8232,

B-roll, photos and spokesperson headshots on Dropbox: . The folder is not password protected. If you are prompted for a password, enter your Dropbox password.

Placing Wood Buffalo National Park on the UNESCO List of World Heritage in Danger will require Canada to find solutions to risks posed to the park. The Mikisew Cree are asking Canadian federal and provincial government to create a buffer zone around the park and for stronger regulations for industrial activities affecting its ecosystems.

The industrial activities threatening Wood Buffalo National Park are also threatening the Mikisew Cree's ability to sustain their culture and heritage, and the ability to exercise their aboriginal treaty rights. Visit: (scroll down to UNESCO section), and follow @MikisewCreeGIR on Twitter.



For further information: To schedule an interview, contact Heather Badenoch, 613-859-8232,


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