|Sossusvlei: Part of the Namib Sand Sea with its over 300m high dunes|
It’s official. Bated breath turned to utter relief in the early morning hours of Friday, 21 June, when it was announced that the has been declared as a natural World Heritage Site. This is the
Namibia’s delegation to the 37th Session of the World Heritage Committee meeting held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, cheered at the announcement and eagerly began spreading the happy news this morning.
The Namib Sand Sea (as the Southern Namib Erg) was identified as a potential World Heritage site in 2002. Preparation for the nomination of the Namib Sand Sea started in 2009. The dossier listing the criteria needed for World Heritage inscription was compiled during 2011 under the leadership of Dr Mary Seely of the Gobabeb Research and Training Centre. The dossier was presented to the World Heritage committee in 2012.
The 1972 Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage makes provision for sites to be inscribed as cultural, natural or mixed (having both natural and cultural values).
Namibia’s first world heritage site, , was inscribed in 2007 as a cultural site. is Namibia’s first natural World Heritage site.
The Namib Sand Sea area, now an official World Heritage site, comprises a large part of the Namib Naukluft Park. It includes favourite tourist destinations such as Sossusvlei and Sandwich Harbour.
The inscribed area stretches from the Kuiseb River southwards to include approximately 66% of the Central Namib dune sea. The inscribed Sand Sea covers an area of 30,777 square kilometres with an additional 899,500 hectares designated as a buffer zone.