June 14, 2019

UNESCO World Heritage Committee condemns the development of coal-fired power stations in heritage sites

The Advisory Group of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee yesterday published its recommended decisions for adoption by Member States at the next annual meeting in Baku, starting on 30 June

The experts of the consultative group are calling on the 21 member states of the committee to demand, in their final decision, to halt the development of the coal-fired power stations planned near the old town of Lamu, Kenya and in the Sundarbans, Bangladesh.

“The report draw on scientific analysis and interviews with NGOs and communities living in Rampal and nearby areas, who face losing their livelihoods if their forest  devastated by coal and their living conditions overwhelmed by pollution from the plant. It would be incomprehensible that the member states of the committee do not follow the experts’ recommendations.” Sharif Jamil, from the National Committee To Save Sundarbans (NCSS).

“The Lamu coal-fired plant will not only destroy an ancient and invaluable heritage ; it will dramatically exacerbate climate change.  As the world demands that its political leaders respond directly to the climate emergency, the UN Secretary-General calls for a general mobilization to end coal by 2020, the Lamu power station would double the CO2 emissions produced by Kenya’s energy sector. UNESCO and its heritage committee must listen to science and citizens, and say no to Lamu power plant. ” said Landry Ninteretse, 350Africa.org Regional Team Lead.

The Rampal coal-fired plant is a 1320 Megawatt coal plant in the Sundarbans forest threatens to destroy the largest mangrove forest in the world and is likely to drive the extinction of rare and threatened species such as the Bengal tiger and the Gangetic dolphin.  

The proposed Lamu Coal Power Station is a potential 1,050 MW coal-fired thermal power station in Kenya that will be built alongside Lamu Town, a 14th-century fishing village.  Considered the cradle of Swahili Islamic culture, Lamu is a UNESCO Heritage site that retains much of its multicultural heritage, a rich tapestry of African, Arab, and Indian traditions. The Lamu Archipelago’s unique biodiversity has also, for the most part, been left untouched, preserving its sense of paradise for tourists and locals.

350.org, NCSS, Save Lamu and  deCOALonize campaign will travel to Baku by June 30 to ensure that the States members of the Committee agree on a fair text, which sends an indisputable signal to Bangladesh and Kenya project proponents.