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// February 2013

Greetings ,

image dsc

Elephants running freely and unthreatened in the new African Transnational World Heritage site.

Our Place - our responsibility

OUR PLACE wishes you a productive and constructive 2013.
Unfortunately the year has started with a new stream of media stories about threats to World Heritage sites, both natural and cultural.

Ivory poaching in parts of Southern Africa has reached levels which are severely threatening the sustainability -and in some cases the very survival, of whole herds of Elephants and Rhinos as poachers meet a growing Asian middle class demand for trinkets, ornaments and “traditional medicines” made from these majestic animal’s tusks and horns. Marine ecology is becoming increasingly fragile and there are continuing horror stories about unsustainable fishing practices that threaten the world’s ocean system.

Many of the world’s cultural sites are continuing to be put at risk from population pressures but the armed conflicts in Syria and Mali are putting the World Heritage sites in those countries under extra threat.

The Director General of UNESCO Irina Bokova has reminded the various factions in those countries to honour The Hague Convention of 1954 for the Protection of Cultural Property in armed conflict and we can only hope that her plea is heeded. Mali is of particular concern as some of the rebel groups there are deliberately destroying cultural sites as part of their campaign to establish an oppressively conservative theocracy.

Most of us can only hope to help lessen these threats by attempting to keep the issues alive and in front of the world’s citizens and decision makers via various media outlets. OUR PLACE believes that by increasing the awareness of the consequence of unsustainable demands on fragile natural resources and by highlighting the loss to the wider world of on-site cultural destruction, there is the chance that we can eventually influence and moderate the behaviour of those involved.

OUR PLACE has photographed the World Heritage sites of Mali so they can easily be seen and appreciated by our global audience.


This month we are posting a new photo gallery from the Trans-national World Heritage site of Cameroon /Central African Republic/ Congo which includes images that show the beauty of elephants living in a relatively protected environment. If people become aware of a place, then they can begin to care for that place.

As always, we appreciate your feedback and comments as we work to celebrate and protect Our Place on Our Planet.

Geoff Steven


Our Place Global

Latest Site Galleries


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Famous for its well preserved town wall and fortifications, including complete semicircular towers and gates, Ávila is one of Europe's most well-preserved medieval towns. 


Sangha Trinational

Three National Parks from Cameroon, Central African Republic and Congo, form a transnational site in the Congo Basin of Africa.  This important site is a natural sanctuary for many endangered animal species. 


Island of Mozambique

Once a Portuguese trading post on the route to India, the Island of Mozambique's remarkable architecture is due to constant use of traditional building techniques.

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