UNESCO Exhibit at COP 16

Satellites and World Heritage sites, partners to understand climate change

UNESCO exhibit, open to the general public during the United Nations Climate Change Conference, in the Parque de las Palapas, Cancun.

To view all exhibit posters, click here.

Climate change: 2003 was the hottest summer ever in Europe; in 2005 a hurricane of unequalled strength, Wilma, destroys Cancun; in 2009 record-breaking rainfall causes serious damages in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua; in 2010 Tabasco is flooded by an extremely intense storm. Glaciers are melting and corals are dying as the sea warms up.

The Egyptian pyramids have survived over 3,000 years until today; the species living in the Galapagos have been evolving over thousands of years; Machu Picchu is an amazing reminder of the Inca civilization. These sites are among those with an outstanding universal value and must be preserved for future generations. They constitute common legacy, which is why the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has defined them as World Heritage sites.

Climate Change is now threatening the conservation of these sites, and satellites have flown to the rescue of World Heritage.

Exhibit in the Parque de Palapas, Cancun, from 24 November to 10 December 2010

Over 20,000 delegates from the world over are meeting in Cancun to discuss the steps that must be taken to mitigate the causes of climate change. During this significant international event, UNESCO and its Space Partners are showing to the population of Cancun, to its teachers and students, how satellites are helping UNESCO to understand the effects of climate change on famous World Heritage Sites.

The exhibit also meets educational objectives. UNESCO prepared educational material using the satellite images, to enable teachers to prepare for the visit in class. UNESCO invited teachers to participate in a series of workshops in the palacio municipal de Cancun, where the content of the exhibition will be explained in detail and they can prepare an interesting, fun and easily understood ‘live’ class in downtown Cancun for their students’ visit, focusing on the effects of climate change on World Heritage sites.